Persona 2: Eternal Punishment "Persona Evaluation Guide" Version: 0.6 (February 8, 2005) by Alessar (c) 2005 Matt Redding. All rights reserved and commercial duplication prohibited. Please send comments and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put an appropriate subject line on your email, like "Persona FAQ." Or, contact me on the GameFAQs message boards. If you're not GameFAQs, YOU CANNOT have this document on your website. This remains a work in progress. I apologize for the long delay in its completion, but I felt that the earliest levels were the most critical to get people started. At this point, I will be completing the guide without the benefit of a recent play through and will be unable to give as much advice in regards to hints about good personae to use on certain bosses. However, having been told that my critique is the "American Idol" of the Megaten world, I could not hold off any longer. ;) Feel free to send me your comments on the sections that are complete already, and I hope you will find this useful. I. Introduction A. Persona Basics 1. Summoning for Beginners 2. Activating a Persona 3. Ranking Up B. Mutation and Modification 1. Mutation Events 2. Which Personae Can Modify? C. Customizing Personae D. Starting Play 1. Seven Sisters High 2. Your First Trip to the Velvet Room 3. Mount Mifune II. Persona Rankings A. Starting Personae B. Personae: Level 1 to 13 C. Personae: Level 14 to 26 D. Personae: Level 27 to 35 E. Personae: Level 36 to 50 F. Personae: Level 51 to 69 G. Personae: Level 70 to 99 H. Fool Personae III. Optimized Groups [pending] A. Any Four Elementals B. The Ancestors C. Ultimate Personae D. Pantheon Lists IV. Tips & Tricks V. Credits & Thanks I. Introduction Persona 2 is a fabulous game, but there are so many Personae to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming. When I played Revelations: Persona, Victar's Persona Rankings FAQ was a useful tool for me. Not only did it rate the Personae, he gave his reasoning and his advice. This is not a comprehensive list of every Persona's parameters and spells, and what it can be returned for. If you want to look up that information, consult Archaeopteryx's amazingly complete FAQ. (I used it as a reference when writing this in fact.) This is also not a walkthrough. I am also not going to be giving a great deal of situation-specific advice; I will make a few suggestions, but for complete strategies, consult Sasoriza's boss strategies FAQ. Rather, this is a list by level of the Personae I've played (which is most of them), and my comments about them. The choices reflect my playing style, and your results may vary. I will endeavor to not put spoilery information in this FAQ, but there will be some. Specifically, I will be giving out some details on how the Persona system works, I will occasionally mention hidden information about Personae (such as what a given Persona gives you when you return it at Rank 8), and I may refer to specific dungeons and bosses in general terms. I'm going to start by summarizing how the Persona system works, clarifing a few details and giving some advice on how to optimize your use of Personae. A. Persona Basics 1. Summoning for Beginners Summoning Personae is really quite simple. You just pick the Persona, spend the appropriate Tarot cards for it in the Velvet room, and Igor summons it. The only limits are your stock of Tarot cards and your level: you can't summon a Persona that's more than 5 levels higher than your highest party member. As you should know from the game documentation, you get tarot cards by contacting the "demons" you encounter in dungeons. An interested demon will give a number of tarot cards of its class. It is important to know that not every type of Persona has a corresponding demon. Many of the classes of Persona can only be summoned by taking blank or "Free Tarot" cards to the Velvet room and having them converted into the appropriate kind of tarot. You get free tarot cards by making a demon happy and then signing a contract, and then on subsequent encounters when you make the demon interested, it will give you cards of its class and some free tarot in addition. The reason for the level limit on summoning is that, theoretically, a Persona that is too powerful for its user might 'possess' the user. So Igor won't summon high-level Personae for you. However, this is a plot element and not a game mechanic. If you somehow come into ownership of a Persona that is more than 5 levels above your party, it's perfectly fine to use it. A few Personae require a rare object to summon them, called a material card. Once that material card is used, you will not get it back (for instance, from returning the Persona once its reached rank 8), which means that you only get one chance to summon that Persona. (There are a few material cards that are gained by returning another Persona at rank 8 or which are bought, but the best ones are gained from unique demons or item boxes in dungeons.) 2. Activating a Persona When a character activates (i.e., equips or junctions it) a Persona there are three effects. First the character's attributes are averaged with the Persona's. Secondly, the character gains whatever defense properties that Persona has, for instance, "Strong against Earth, Weak against Wind." The third effect is that each Persona contributes a certain permanent attribute boost at level up. Since you can only specify how Maya Amano's attribute points are spent, paying attention to Persona's attribute boosts is essential to have some control over those other characters. Keep in mind that you can freely change Personae during combat (unless the character is out of your control, berserk for instance; and there is one boss in the game who can prevent Persona switching). While some of the Personae do seem to have serious vulnerabilities, you can switch them off if enemies with those attacks come into play. I prefer to pick Personae with strong defenses, but sometimes you don't have a choice. 3. Ranking Up The level of a given Persona never changes. Depending on how high that level is, the Persona's starting attributes will be higher. Their spell assortment (in theory!) will also contain more potent spells and special moves. However, due to the game system, some spells will be useful at every level, and other spells won't be as useful as they could be depending on your characters' stats and attributes. Personae instead "rank up" from being used in combat and using their special abilities. Most abilities give 1 point toward ranking; healing and support spells give 2 points of this special "experience." Each Persona has a specific rank-up pattern; some gain ranks at an even rate, some rank up quickly at the beginning and slow down to a crawl in the end; others rank up quickly, slow down, and speed up again later. Unfortunately, the only source for this information is in the deluxe strategy guide published in Japan and will not be available. If I happen to mention something like, "this persona took a long time to rank up," this is am referring to. For the most part, they all even out, but there are a couple that are just very slow levellers. If you notice a great deal of variation in how quickly your Personae rank up, now you'll understand why. B. Mutation and Modification 1. Mutation Events In Persona 1, after a Persona gained all its spells, it was usually ready to be recycled at the Velvet Room. That's not necessarily the case in this game. As you will know from the game manual, it is possible to cast "fusion spells" by combining the right spells in the right sequence in battle. Honestly, it's a lot easier than it sounds. Whenever you end a fight (the end of the whole fight) with a fusion spell, there is a chance that one of the Personae involved in that spell may "mutate." There are several possible results from mutation. The most common are "Two Ranks Up" and "Parameters Increased." Two Ranks is self-explanatory. A Persona of first through 6th rank may get this effect. In the case of Parameters, the Persona gets +1 to every attribute, similarly to leveling up. There is no specific limitation on how many times you can get this mutation; I have personally taken more than one Persona to 99 in every attribute this way. Consequently, a lower-level Persona can remain useful if its attributes continue to increase to stay on a par with new, higher-level Personae. Eventually, because its spells are just not top-grade, it will become obsolete; but this mutation process helps extend the usefulness of the Persona. I find this particularly useful on Personae that I am keeping for defensive purposes. (After all, it does no good to be strong against earth if the Persona is lowering the character's TEC score, and subsequently, spell defense!) Another not uncommon result of mutation is to learn a hidden spell. Every Persona (except for a handful of very special Personae called the "ancestors") has one specific hidden spell which can be unlocked by mutation. Another similar effect is "Unknown Power Awakened." This is a secret power which may function when the host is near-death. It's a matter of luck and compatibility (discussed a bit later) if it activates. Personally, though I've had several Personae gain this power, I've never seen it happen. The final possible result of mutation is that the Persona may gain the power of Modification. What that means is that you can take the Persona to the Velvet Room and turn it into another, completely different Persona. The option "Mutation" will appear on the menu. (Unfortunately they mixed the terminology there so sometimes when people say "mutation" they mean any of the mutation events, and sometimes they mean the actual transformation only. 2. Which Personae Can Modify? Every Persona can gain modification ability EXCEPT: any starter Persona other than Maia; any Fortune class Persona; any Persona summoned with the use of a Material Card; and the very highest-level Personae (level 73 and up). The way it works is that Personae with this power mutate into a "minor arcana" Persona that are categorized using the tarot suites of rods, cups, swords, and pentacles instead of "major arcana" types such as magician, tower, and moon. All viable Personae of a given level range have the potential to mutate into the same Persona, however, you can't have two of the same Persona so once one has mutated, it won't let another do so. For instance, all Personae of up to level 12 that gain modification ability would become "CUP Matsuo-sama." However, level 13-16 Personae may become "ROD Hotei" and level 17-19 Personae can become "PENTACLE Fukurokuju." The progression continues like that up to level 72. However, there are exceptions. First, there is a small chance that any modification can be a "dud" resulting in a level 2 Poltergeist. Fortunately, since you can't have two of the same Persona, keeping a Poltergeist in stock in the velvet room the entire game will prevent this. Seriously, even if you never play the Poltergeist, summon it once and store it. Second, a very few Personae can become another major arcana Persona. For the most part, it is just a case of having very good luck, because when most of these Personae modify, there's about an 85% chance they'll become the usual minor arcana Persona, but about a 15% chance that they'll become their secret other self. There are also a couple Personae that require a plot action of some kind to come into play. They don't use the percentage chance listed above, you either have achieved the special requirement or you haven't. Finally, another factor that affects mutation rate is the characters' compatibility with their Personae. Different party members have different levels of compatibility for the various classes of Personae and this will result in an adjustment to the cost of using them, and the chance of mutation. Some characters can't use certain Personae; this is called incompatibility. For others, the SP cost may be increased, this is called bad compatibility. Many will work fine for the character, and have the listed SP cost. This is normal or average compatibility. But other classes will give the character a reduction in SP cost. This is called good compatibility. And for some, while they appear to have good compatibility, the Persons will have an increased mutation rate too. This is called best compatibility and the only way to tell it is by observation or consulting the FAQ. Note that all the characters start with a Persona for which they have best compatibility. One of the advantages of the Minor Arcana Personae is that they have at least good compatibility with every character. Luck is also a factor in getting mutations. C. Customizing Personae There are two things that can be added to any summoned Persona: A spell card, and an incense card. (Actual incenses are used to boost the characters' attributes.) A spell card can only be used on a Persona if its not in conflict with its nature. For instance, you can't put a water spell like Aques on a Persona with an affinity to fire. Affinity is actually denoted by a little square icon in the Personae screen, it's not just what kind of spells the Persona has. For instance, if the Persona you are summoning has some fire spells but is not fire aspected (not uncommon for an earth or holy Persona), you can go ahead and add a water spell if you want. Adding spells to your summoned Personae is extremely important in the long-term. Even the weakest spell could complete a powerful fusion; A Persona may be very good but not have any potential to combine with the other Personae in the party. Judicious use of a spell card will allow it to engage in fusion and possibly increase in power. Of course, you'll need to know which spells are used for a fusion, but I leave you to find that information out yourself, either in game play or by consulting a general FAQ. I will give you the tip that while any two earth, air, fire, or water spells creates a high-damage single creature attack, any two lightning, ice, or nuclear spells creates a moderate-damage all creatures attack. Consequently, often when I am at a loss for what to do with two Personae, I'll give each an ice or lightning spell because I know I can get a good fusion out of them relatively cheaply. (I had "Bufu" spell cards all over the place by the end of the game even though I frequently used them!) The second thing you can do is add an incense card. This gives +10 to one attribute or +5 to all attributes. Incense cards aren't essential, how you use them is up to you. The first time I played the game, Maya's TEC attribute started to seriously outstrip ANY Persona she equipped, so I started putting TEC incenses on all her Personae so that her score wouldn't be lowered as much. You can use the cards in other ways. For instance, if you have a slow character, give their Persona an incense to boost agility. Or if you have a strong character, you can give their Persona a strength incense so they are even more potent with physical attack spells or regular attacks. Remember, you can increase any Persona's attributes by both ranking it up and mutating it, the incenses are strictly enhancements, not requirements. D. Starting Play The following is a Mini-Walkthrough for the first two dungeons of the game. It is intended just to explain to you how you should be using the system and to put you on the right track. There are no navigational instructions, just a general description of how play should proceed. I have endeavored to not have this be spoilery content. Here are a couple of general play tips: * You can exit most normal dungeons and come back to them. There are a few that are in remote locations that you can't, however, derelict buildings in the city can be left and resumed. * You can never re-enter a normal dungeon once it is completed. There is one optional side dungeon you can keep re-entering. It is there to let you re- encounter demons you missed for purposes of getting Tarot cards. * The skill "Hula of Misfortune" appears to do no damage. In actuality, it roughly HALVES your current money * When discussing Personae defenses, the term 'attack' refers to physical moves of the tackling variety. It was a bad name choice as it can obviously be confused with the basic Attack command and term. Weakness to attack is not weakness to all physical blows, just the attack sub-type. 1. Seven Sisters High Approximately the first 40 minutes of the game features no fighting. After a plot event your characters gain their powers, and the the actual gameplay begins. You will be in Seven Sisters High, which is a GREAT starter dungeon. You can save anytime you want except during battle, so be sure to do so as soon as you get control of your characters. The first encounter you have will be a preset tutorial in demon negotiation. After that, bad luck could get you killed in your first real encounter. At the very start of the game, your characters will be fragile, and your Personae won't help too much yet. You will level up with just a few experience points, though, and the difference will be even more dramatic when the Personae begin to rank up. When you start, just use each Persona's first attack power, focus on one demon at a time until you've won the encounter. After Maia manifests her Aqua power, you can cast the Stone Rise fusion spell (detailed in the manual) by casting spells in the order: water (aqua), fire (agi), earth (magna). Start doing that, just Stone Rise everything that moves (unless you hit something resistant to it) until the Personae start really ranking up. With luck, you will get some mutation effects and increase in power even more. You need to find a key to the 4th floor, where there's a boss fight waiting for you. Don't rush it. After Seven Sisters, you'll gain a 4th permanent party member, who will enter play at Eighth level, so that should tell that the designers expect you to be close to that. So go ahead and poke around. Experiment a bit, there are other fusion spells the starter Personae can cast; you should learn the use of their powers. Definitely rank up the Personae until Maia gets Media (or Me Dia if you break up the syllables as they do on the spell card for it) so that you can cure everyone for about 30 hp at the same time. Contact some demons. In fact, try to make contracts with a few that you are encountering commonly. Most of the demons in Seven Sisters are fairly easy to persuade. You can get some valuable starting items too, like ball of return, but mostly focus on getting some Tarot and quite a few Free (blank) tarot. The low-level demons in this area won't give you many cards (3-5 if I recall right), but rest assured that it will be easier later on as demons start to give you 10, 20, 40, 80 cards at once. Try to get a dozen or so of each type of card that has demons running around, try to get a few dozen free tarot if you have the patience. It will be well worth it having them at the end of the dungeon. By the time you go to the end boss, your characters should be at least sixth level, and have their Personae ranked up to about 6th rank as well. If you were lucky, you may have gotten some "two ranks up" mutations; my Maia was 8th rank at that point and had gained her hidden spell but that's really a case of my Personal luck. Since you cannot return to this nice starter dungeon with its free healing, so be sure to get all your stuff squared away before fighting the boss. And remember, save before you enter the room with the boss! :) 2. Your First Trip to the Velvet Room Once Baofu joins your party, you can visit the Velvet Room for the first time; since he's 8th level, you can summon at least up to 13th level Personae. But don't overlook a few low-level Personae that can be quite useful. It should have been no problem to gain at least 8 Lovers and 8 Devil cards. Summon Pixie and Poltergeist. Additionally, if you have at least 27 Free Tarot, convert them to Emperor Class (a type for which there is no demon you can get cards from) and summon Airget Lam. If you have another 20 free tarot, I recommend summoning Temperance Harpie (there are Temperance demons, I just don't think there are any in that first dungeon, but its worth spending the cards now to have extra Personae.) At this point in the game, you probably don't have enough money to buy spell cards, but don't worry, they'll be available soon enough. 3. Mount Mifune The second dungeon is in the form of a maze-like path up the mountain. Of the enemies here, quite a few use physical/shot attacks and quite a few use magic/air attacks. Once Maia has reached rank 8, I recommend you put Harpie on Maya; if she takes too much damage from earth or shot attacks (Harpie's weaknesses) swap in Maia and heal. Maya and Ulala both have "best" compatibility with her, so she's likely mutate a lot on either of them. She's not that great otherwise, but she is a perfect candidate to modify into CUP Matsuo-sama because her return item is worthless. You can continue to use the starter Personae or not as you like. I recommend putting Airget Lam on Katsuya every time he's about to level so that he gets some TEC; otherwise the computer doesn't seem to put points into his TEC until his strength is in the high twenties. Poltergeist will work well on Baofu, and Pixie on Ulala. Find the earth fusion that can be cast with this selection, experiment a bit. If you're lucky, you might even get a few spell cards in encounters... Finally, a little before you get to the back of the sanitarium, there'll be a shrine hidden off into the woods (a few screens back). This shrine to Junnosuke Kuroda is the first step to unlocking the Ancestral Personae, however, getting the right cards to use them on your first play can be tricky. If you want to start unlocking them, stuff the donation box until it's full and won't accept any more money. But again, if you don't have enough money to do that, you can get these rare Personae on the replay. There will be another Velvet Room right inside the building at the end of the trail, so build up some more cards in preparation of that. It's time to supplement the starting Personae with backup...go ahead and look in part two to see my suggestions about that. II. Persona Rankings. These listing are sorted by level, in level ranges that I thought made good break points. There's no "right" amount of leveling up, everyone has their own play style. But it does seem the game designers expect your characters to be around the level of the demons they will encounter by the end of a dungeon, so I have tried to roughly pick ranges that encompass every few dungeons. Additionally, when you first gain access to the Velvet Room, Baofu's starting level guarantees you'll be able to summon at least up to level 13, so that's the level range of the first section. The next level range is based on the next character to join; the range becomes guesswork after that. I played around with ideas for formatting these entries but couldn't really top Victar's. I wasn't going to bother with the defense info, but it's one of the first things I look at in picking a Persona, so I've gone ahead and put it in here. The format used in the listings below is: Level - ARCANUM (Persona type) - Name Defense information. Affinity. ~Any special notes about compatibility, creation, or Mythos membership Detailed commentary. * Overall rating (5 * scale) and short comment. I take a lot of factors into consideration when I assign a rating, and not all of them have equal weight. The Persona's defensive status is a big factor, what it protects against is generally weighted more heavily than what it's vulnerable to. The reason for this is I'm trying to focus on the useful aspects of the Personae; and basically, if a Persona is weak against some kind of attack, you can switch off to a different one. However, being strong versus several kinds of attacks is a real benefit. Still, if a Persona's vulnerabilities outweigh its defenses, it's a strike against it. Another major factor is the spell selection. I do look at what the "hidden" spell is, and weigh the spells for being both appropriate for its level and a useful mix overall. Ability to engage in both common and rare fusion spells can be a heavily weighted factor. By common spells I mean the basic elemental attack fusions; by rare, I mean fusions that require spells which only a few Personae possess. Additionally, there are unique fusions, which require specific Personae with specific spells, or at least specific rare spells. Most unique fusions require three to five members of a given mythological pantheon operating together; unfortunately, the Personae involved are often spread across a very large level range, which means that unless you invest time in "buffing up" the lower level members, they're going to be a burden to drag around. Still, not all of the combos are like that and a few of them are resoundingly potent. Lesser factors include attributes, both the starting statistics and the attribute that a bonus is given to at level up; and the item the Persona can be returned for at rank 8. Scale Explantion: - No stars. Completely worthless Persona. * - A sub-par Persona. Weak or terribly average with nothing to recommend it. ** - An average Persona. Probably needs a spell card to be useful, or has limited usefulness, such as being good only for an item. *** - A good Persona. Exact usefulness may vary with game play, but generally worthwhile. **** - Top-notch, useful, powerful, and capable of being used for many levels in the game. ***** - One of the most powerful and useful Personae in the game. There are only a few. A. Starter Personae The starter Personae are not particularly potent, but then, they are very low level. One thing that's interesting is that the number of fusions you can achieve with them (especially if all 4 of them have unlocked their hidden spell) is quite high. Though Maia is technically a non-elemental Persona, she has a water attack spell, and therefore all 4 elements are represented in this set. Thus, you can cast all four elemental "boost" fusions (which have 3 different elements combining into 1 single attack) with them, as well as a few other attack and status fusions. 1 STAR Callisto Strong against Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth ~Usable only by Ulala Though you will find enemies with wind attacks early on, her vulnerability won't be too much of a detriment. At the lower power level of the start of the game, the increase in damage won't be very high, perhaps an extra 10 hp. In fact, if Ulala's TEC is raised, thus raising her SDF, the vulnerability can be compensated for. Her earth attacks are useful against those same wind-aspected monsters, and if you encounter earth monsters, her Zan (non-elemental damage) is very handy. Her hidden spell is mafui (silence) -- nothing special; I would advise that as soon as you rank her up to 8, move on to another Persona and switch back when you need to use her earth spells in fusion. ** Decent for such a low-level Persona, but not memorable 1 JUSTICE Helios Voids Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire ~Usable only by Katsuya Helios is rather neutral towards most enemies you'll face early on. There are a few that are strong with respect to fire but not many. His final spell is Maha Agi, which attacks an entire group, and which begins a whole series of fusion spells that use the formula fire, earth, maha agi___; of course, you need another Persona which can use at least Agi to do so. ** Decent for such a low-level Persona, but not memorable 3 MOON Maia Voids Holy, Darkness, Mind/Nerve. Affinity: None ~Usable only by Maya Maia is mostly about healing, but she can attack with holy and water spells. Her Multidimension doesn't have a high success rate, but notice its category: "(Special) Type: None." Multidimension does not count as either magic or physical, so it can be used on demons that void and reflect magic!! This makes it one of the most powerful spells in the entire game, not that you'll appreciate it at such a low level. (Look for fusions that have the same definition; they're rare, and extremely powerful). Maia ignores holy and dark spells, which have instant kill potential, and she's also immune to mind/nerve spells such as sleep and confuse, which is very handy. Whenever the party is in trouble, switching Maya back to Maia will probably save the day because she's so defensively powerful and has so much recovery power. Her SP cost is low; you would do well to keep Maia around until 20th level so you can heal out of combat cheaply. If you play Maya "in character" (kind and forgiving), after a certain plot event you may be able to gain the ability to modify to a higher-level version of Maia, Maia Custom. *** One of the most valuable Personae in the game; do not Return it under any circumstances 6 HANGED MAN Odysseus Voids Wind, Lightning. Affinity: Wind ~Usable only by Baofu Odysseus' defenses will be useful going up Mount Mifune. However his attacks aren't going to be that useful either. If you get very lucky, a mutation will unlock his soothing melody spell (healing spell usable in combat only, but stronger than Media). Soothing Melody fuses with 3 other certain spells to create a very powerful status attack on all opponents (one that has an almost 100% effective rate.) If you get Soothing Melody, Odysseus' usefulness basically doubles. If you choose not to put Airget Lam on Katsuya, put him on Baofu instead as a good replacement for this one. * Pretty weak for a starting Persona, though the hidden spell is extra good. I think they should have made him more balanced though. B. Other Personae Level 1 to 13 As noted above, when you gain your fourth party member, he'll be at level 8 which means that you will be able to summon Personae up to 13th level right after finishing the first dungeon, Seven Sisters high. This next section of Personae is pretty wide, but they will probably be what's available for the second through fourth dungeons. 2 LOVERS Pixie Strong against Wind, Weak against Earth. Affinity: Wind Pixie is a great asset. She starts with a healing spell and gains wind and lightning attacks. Kotoludi cures possessed status, and you will probably encounter some demons with this annoying attack early on. Her rank 8 spell is Meggido, which inflicts moderate non-elemental damage to all enemies (multiple groups). Meggido is not normally found on Personae of under 35th level! It will take Pixie a while to rank up to 8, but it will be worth it. Her attributes start quite low, however, as she ranks up her Luck will increase abnormally. At rank 8, Pixie always has a 99 luck. Put Pixie on Ulala and try to get her to mutate a few times so that her stats improve. She's going to be useful for quite a while. As the lowest level (and thus cheapest SP) Persona in the game, many players like to summon Pixie later in the game and give her the strongest healing spell available (Mediarahan, full heal of the whole party) which they can then use for about 2 SP. *** An unusually potent Persona worth putting some effort in to developing. 2 DEVIL Poltergeist Voids Darkness, Weak against Holy. Affinity: None His attack spells are pretty rudimentary, mostly earth which makes him useful against air creatures as he's got no specific vulnerability to air; he can cure poisoning at rank 2, which is handy. Otherwise there's not much to recommend him, though he would work well with Callisto. (Special) Keep Poltergeist in stock the entire game to prevent dud mutations. ** otherwise. 5 TEMPERANCE Harpie Strong against Sword, Attack; Weak against Earth, Shot. Affinity: Wind Harpie is not that great a Persona. Going up Mount Mifune, she can be a liability in several instances. The main reason I recommend her is that she's a good choice for a Persona to turn into CUP Matsuo-sama, which is a very good Persona. She does have pretty good attack spells, which will let her do fusions with Pixie. She's highly compatible with Maya, who tends to rank Maia up to 8 rather quickly. And her return item is merely 10 Free Tarot, so she's easy to mutate and not going to be missed. Finally, her attribute is Luck, which is not so common in Personae that the women tend to use. ** A strong candidate for Modification otherwise not that special. 9 EMPEROR Airget Lam Strong against Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth Airget Lam is the lowest level Persona to boost Technique at level up. His starting attributes are good, and his earth attacks are reasonably useful. He will work well with Poltergeist or Callisto in dropping rocks on demons. The computer tends to not spend attribute points on the men's TEC scores early on. Airget Lam is the only way you can correct that. He's technically more compatible with Baofu than Katsuya, but Baofu already should have a compatible Persona in Poltergeist (which Katsuya won't work well with), so I recommend him for Katsuya. *** A useful Persona with a good mix of benefits 11 LOVERS Robin Goodfellow Strong against Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth This Persona is very similar to Airget Lam, except it's two levels higher and its good spells aren't quite as readily available. Also, while Airget Lam gets bonus points for being a Technique booster, Robin loses points for being an Agility booster. The computer always focuses on Agility for Ulala, she really doesn't need to ever have an agility-boosting Persona on. If you really want another earth Persona, for fusions perhaps, it would be OK. But I personally would use Callisto instead and save my cards. * A pale copy of a good Persona 12 STRENGTH Ryume Strong against Ice, Lightning, Nuclear; Weak against Attack, Strike. Affinity: Water ~Member of the Saiyuki group Ryume is a good Persona, but he costs too much to summon before Mount Mifune so I didn't recommend him in my mini-walkthrough. Once you're at the top though, you might want to summon him before entering the asylum. His water and ice attacks will let him help in a few fusions. If a monster has dropped a Bufu card for you by the time you summon Ryume, you should seriously consider using that card on another new Persona so that it and Ryume can do an ice fusion together. He is vulnerable to two forms of physical attack, but I think shot is more common so he's not too bad. [Note that 'attack' is a subtype of physical attack (it should have been named 'tackle' in my opinion, to avoid confusion) and Ryume is only vulnerable to that subtype and strike, not to all melee attacks.] I would recommend adding a Dia or MeDia spell to him, but you should have Maia and Pixie available for that. His Poismudi and Kotuludi are going to be very useful for quite a while, and his hidden spell is Recarm, which raises a fallen party member in combat. Ryume can participate in a unique fusion; however, the spell in this case is not that great. **** It might not be obvious, but this is a very strong recovery Persona with some useful attacks. 12 STAR Kimnara Voids Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Kimnara is a fun Persona. His fire attacks are strong, and you get Maha Agi fairly early. His soothing melody is a stronger healing spell than MeDia, though it can only be used during a fight. He is the first Persona to get Trafuri, which is the escape combat spell. It's quite rare, and you can return a rank 8 Kimnara for a Trafuri card. Kimnara's defenses are definitely useful in the third and even fourth dungeons. Could be a lifesaver in the third boss fight. *** A good basic Persona with a rare return item, uncommon spells, and useful defenses. Definitely worth summoning, but probably not keeping. You may, in fact, summon him repeatedly throughout the game to get his return item as it's the most expensive spell card there is! 12 CUP Matsuo-sama Absorbs Water; Weak against Fire. Affinity: Water ~Requires: Mutation from another level 1-12 Persona Like most minor arcana Personae, he's extremely useful. He starts with Maha Aqua, which will allow certain water fusions. His most useful spells though are de kaja (which cancels various attribute boosting spells), wall of water (which protects the entire party completely from water attacks), and refresh ring (which cures all status ailments on one character). Matsuo-sama is a good Persona but will really come into his own in the fifth dungeon. [Note that I count the trail up Mount Mifune and the Asylum atop it together as the second dungeon.] You will be using higher level Personae by then, but his powers will be very handy. Therefore, build him up when you get the chance, and be sure to have him with the party then. Finally, as a CUP, Matsuo-sama is at least good compatibility with everyone. *** A very worthwhile defensive Persona, tailor-made to protect you against a certain boss. 13 SUN Surya Reflects Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Surya is a pretty useful Persona; he's not so focused as many others are. He has maha agi, but he also has maha garu. His spiral shot is useful as a physical attack. He has good flexibility and he makes a logical partner to combine in fusion spells with Kimnara, but he could also cast fusions with Maia, Pixie, and others. He will be very good against the third boss, and is also a likely candidate to modify into ROD Hotei. *** An attack Persona with unusual flexibility C. Personae level 14 to 26 This is a pretty broad range, and it covers Personae for the next few dungeons. You will eventually be getting a fifth character, and when you do you should be able to summon Personae up to about 26th level. In general, I'm assuming that these Personae will be in use up to either the Science Lab or the TV Station. 14 HIEROPHANT Genjo Voids Mind/Nerve. Affinity: None ~Member of the Saiyuki group Genjo's ability to ignore mind and nerve magic could be very useful, especially in the fourth dungeon. His lack of affinity allows you to add a spell of any element, which is good because his innate selection is quite mediocre and doesn't lend to fusing. Genjo is one of a few Personae which can participate in a fusion spell unique to it and members of its mythic pantheon; however, the spell in this case is not that great. * A useful defense, not really much to this Persona otherwise 14 HERMIT Nekomata Reflects Mind/Nerve. Affinity: None Nekomata is quite a tricky character. She reflects mind and nerve spells, and like Genjo, has no affinity to limit her when adding a spell. She does have air, almighty, and status attacks already, which is not a bad selection. Her return item is an ok weapon for Ulala that may inflict Charm status. *** Useful defenses, ok spells. A fixer-upper Persona but good. 15 EMPRESS Arianrhod Strong against Physical; Weak against Magic. Affinity: Wind Arianrhod is an unusual Persona; she's an air Persona but she has no wind attacks. She does have zio, the first lightning spell, but that's about it. She does have a useful power which will be invaluable against the boss of the fourth dungeon: Wall of Air. Once cast, the party gains the status: Voids Wind. (Note: Wall spells do not stack; the last one cast takes precedence.) She's the lowest-level Persona to have a spell such as this. Her weakness against magic is not really a liability at the beginning of the game; her stats are quite even and basically anyone with a decent Tec won't notice much extra damage. Her resistance to all physical, however, will noticeably help. She really could use an extra spell added onto her though; either a wind attack or ice (to fuse with Ryume) might be good. *** A lifesaver against the fourth boss; a good defensive Persona overall. 15 CHARIOT Minotaur Strong against Physical; Weak against Magic. Affinity: Earth This isn't a very useful Persona. His ability to soak physical attacks might come in handy, but the Persona is weak in general; unlike Arianrhod, he really IS vulnerable to magic and in general. He has the generally useful defensive spell wall of earth, but I don't believe you'll need it. His attack spells are physical, and aren't that good, really. Kotoludi is a useful spell but other, far more utilitary Personae around this level have it. I would recommend skipping this one. * The only use I can see for this Persona is swapping it in to resist strong physical attacks. Maybe. 16 ROD Hotei Voids Fire; Reflects Nuclear; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire ~Requires: Mutation from another level 13-16 Persona I usually mutate Sun Surya but you could use another Persona. He starts with a fire spell capable of completing a fusion, he gains the ever-useful Estoma in the middle of his spell progression, and his hidden spell is Recarm. He also has holy, nuke, and throw attacks thus making him diverse and quite useful. Even if you're about to put aside Personae of the mid-teen levels when you get him, he's strong enough to keep around and use for a while, and his universal compatibility makes him available to any party member that needs a fire Persona. *** A very useful fire Persona 16 MAGICIAN Tengu Voids Wind; Weak against Earth. Affinity: Wind Tengu is a very strong Persona for its level. It starts off with a good group wind attack, gains an Almighty group attack, has Wall of Air which can protect your whole party, and even has Recarm, thus making him a must for the fourth boss fight if you don't have Arianrhod. Another good factor is that he gives a TEC bonus; while TEC will become more common shortly, it's still rare around this level. He very similar in power to Hotei, actually, but with different spells. *** Very useful air Persona 17 JUDGEMENT Phaleg Voids Holy; Weak against Darkness. Affinity: Water Phaleg is not that great. He does gain water spells, but while Tengu and Hotei are starting with Maha Agi and Maha Garu, Phaleg is starting with Aqua and gaining Maha Aqua (which makes the original spell-slot a waste really) several ranks later. And that's comparatively weak; even gaining Aques at rank 8 doesn't make up for it. He is a good candidate for being converted into Pentacle Fukurokuju, though, as his return item is worthless and he does have enough innate spell power to participate in a common water fusion. I had a hard time mutating him though, even on Ellen who should have best compatibility with him. It's sad really; misnamed as Deva, Phaleg was probably the most useful low-level Persona in the first game. * Worth mutating and that's about it. 17 HANGED MAN Shax Voids Water; Strong against Attack, Sword; Weak against Earth, Fire, Shot Shax has both ice and lightning attacks (two each, a waste of spells basically), thus making him a natural to pair with Personae like Ryume and Arianrhod. His other attributes are not outstanding, and shot vulnerability is bad in general. ** An ok Persona, but another candidate for a hopefully quick mutation into Pentacle Fukurokuju. 18 STAR Iris Absorbs Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth ~Requires: Material Card - Flash of Colors Iris is a potent Persona. If you haven't let go of Maia yet, now's the time to do so (well don't RETURN her, just try out Iris on Maya!). Iris's healing power is quite similar, and her attack strength is Earth. Sadly, she has the fairly typical mix of a weak single-target attack spell, a weak group attack spell, and a medium single-target attack spell of the same element. This leaves her sadly lacking in diversity, but still very useful in the fourth dungeon. And, the ability to absorb an element is very useful. I would definitely invest a spell card in Iris; if you've gained a Frei card, and you could do so in the fourth dungeon, I would use it on her. It would give her an atypical attack that really complements her, and she could cast nuke fusions with Hotei or Hel. Iris will work well on either Maya or Ulala. Trust me, Nuke fusions rock. *** Useful Persona, fairly strong and with a few tricks available. 18 LOVERS Jack Frost Absorbs Ice; Voids Water; Weak against Fire. Affinity: Water Jack Frost might actually be so cute he's worth summoning for no other reason. That's good, because there isn't much reason to summon him otherwise. At his level I don't think you'll be encountering too much that uses water attacks, but you will encounter several things with Fire. He has few spells, though he's hiding an extra spell: Atomic Bufula. If you spread a rumor, this spell will appear, and it can fuse uniquely, however, it's pathetically weak on its own. (Not that you can get the other component for about ten levels...) He does have a high rate of Persona-talk with his own kind and Jack O'Lantern, but Lovers cards aren't that hard to get. Summon him for nostalgia, or if you want to see his rare spell, pass otherwise. He could be very useful in the fifth boss fight, though I would expect you to have stronger Personae by then. ** Adorable but not very useful. Ho! 19 TEMPERANCE Fearal Strong against: Sword, Attack; Weak against Shot, Earth. Affinity: Wind For a physically-oriented Persona, Fearal is not that great. Weak against shot is, in my opinion, a fairly serious vulnerability to have as most of the human enemies you encounter will have strong shot attacks. Her weakness against Earth is mitigated by gaining the spell Wall of Earth at rank 8, but her other moves are not that special in general. At least she starts with Maha Garu, which will definitely let you participate in a fusion spell with her. If you summon her, adding a healing or assistance spell could increase her usefulness dramatically. ** Fairly weak, but not completely useless. 20 HIEROPHANT Aizen Myouou Voids Earth, Darkness, Holy. Affinity: Earth ~Usable only by Nate. Aizen Myouou is one of the best starting Personae. He has excellent defenses and a range of attacks (holy, earth, and physical). With a lucky mutation he'll manifest Maka Kaja, which is the magic attack boosting spell. His return item isn't great, so go ahead and have Nate use him a lot and increase his power with some mutations. *** A good overall Persona. A shame he's pre-summoned and only usable by Nate. 20 PENTACLE Fukurokujo Reflects Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth ~Must be mutated from another level 17-19 Persona. You will want Fukurokujo, if for no other reason than to return him at rank 8 for a Lucky Source. This accessory, if equipped at level up, grants an extra +1 to Luck. Fukurokujo has a mix of healing (including status recovery) and earth attacks; nothing really special but nothing really bad either and useful to have all in one place. **** A decent healing Persona with some attack power, and the source of a rare and precious item. 20 MOON Pariker Voids Physical (except Sword), Weak against Holy, Sword. Affinity: None Pariker really only has one thing going for her, and that's voiding most Physical. Her spell selection is on the weak side. Be careful of her vulnerabilities. ** Useful to resist damage from physical attacks - if you encounter any that are that dangerous. 20 FOOL Sarutobe Sasuki [See Fool section.] **** It's a FOOL, they pretty much all rock. But you might want to save your card...they're very rare and this one's not essential. 21 SUN Kinich Kakmo Voids Fire; Strong against Attack, Sword; Weak against Earth, Shot, Water. Affinity: Fire This Persona has a lot of vulnerabilities, and I don't think its resistances make up for it. Sword attacks are not exactly rare, but they're not really common either. Fire Breath attack does level-based damage (based on the summoner, not it) so this Persona has some flexibility there, but its spells overall are just typical. It does return for an Anti-force card (which teaches a Persona the spell Tetrakarn which bestows Reflect Physical for one attack) and that can be useful but it's not the only source for that card. ** A mediocre Persona; the return item could be useful but you have options. 21 STRENGTH Otohime Absorbs Water; Weak against Fire. Affinity: Water Another mediocre Persona. The low 20s seem to be filled with them. She has Throw, Healing, Water, and Status attacks which is a pretty flexible assortment. Her ability to absorb water is a notch above the typical for a Persona that's weak against Fire. If you need a water Persona, you could do worse. (You could also do better). Keep in mind that if you want her throw attacks to do any reasonable damage, put her on someone strong, like Katsuya. *** A fairly typical water Persona. Good to have healing in this arcanum, and absorbing water is a plus. 22 DEATH Hel Voids Darkness, Holy. Affinity: None Meet the Swiss Army knife of low-level Personae. Meet the first Persona to be granted a 5 star rating. Hel has an attack spell of every type except Almighty, Holy and Lightning. (Water, in the form of the all-attacking Acid Rain spell, is gained by mutation). She has no weaknesses and ignores the instant kill attacks (as well as simple damage) of Holy and Darkness. She can participate in a huge number of fusions. This is a Persona you can plan on keeping and using for the next 10, 15 or even 20 levels. Feel free to add an incense card to her if you have it, she'll be with you a while. Since Baofu will likely be the one using her, I would recommend an AGI card to compensate for his slow speed. Also, you should use a spell card on her, something that's going to be worth your while. I wouldn't bother adding another attack, she has so many already. Rather, consider this is a Persona that can leap into most attacks. She will probably mutate a lot too. I recommend you add a support spell (if you have it) such as Maka Kaja, or a recovery spell like Mediarama or maybe even Trafuri so that if your party is mostly wiped out by a holy or dark attack, you can still successfully flee. When the dust clears, Hel will be there to pick up the pieces and dish out punishment. Oh, and if Hel gets the mutation ability ... don't bother. ***** Summon this Persona, she's incredibly useful. 22 HERMIT Tenhou Gensui Voids Earth; Weak against Wind. Affinity: Earth After the amazing usefulness of Hel, we're back to another mediocre, 1- note Persona. His earth spells are not so useful (Magna and Magnus, no "maha" in there) and he uses sword attacks. His best spell is probably Raku Kaja (physical defense up), and that's not all that great. ** Pretty mediocre. 23 STAR Gandharva Absorbs Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Gandharva is similar in power and disposition to Otohime. His ability to actually absorb Fire is potentially useful. His fire attacks aren't particularly fuseable. He does learn a healing move, but it's his last move. ** Absorbing Fire is his great strength. Doesn't stand out otherwise. 23 JUDGEMENT Nike Voids Fire, Holy; Weak against Darkness, Ice, Water. Affinity: Wind Usable only by Ellen. Nike sucks. She's vulnerable to the main attacks you'll be encountering in the very first dungeon you'll have her in. Seriously, you'll see Ellen get killed again and again if you leave Nike on her. She starts with Maha Garu, which is not that great for when you'll have her. It's replaced at rank 8 by Maha Garula but it'll be an uphill struggle to get there. Her holy and status powers are of so-so usefulness in the meantime. * If you have something else Ellen can use, perhaps Nemesis, get rid of her right away. Nike almost got a - rating from me, I think she's a slow to rank- up Persona on top of her other problems, but I can't remember that clearly. 23 HIEROPHANT Umayado no Ouji Reflects Shot, Throw. Affinity: None ~A member of the Saiyuki group (I think) Umayado is a pretty handy Persona. He has two extremely useful spells: Estoma (which reduces encounters) and Trafuri (which escapes from them). His ability to reflect Shot could be handy in a lot of places (more so in Nate's route than Ellen's). His other powers are pretty sucky - if you need him just for his 2 good spells, put a spell card on him too. Since he has no affinity, you can pick anything you'd like. Maha Agionn might be good. *** Not essential, but useful if you need Estoma and Trafuri 24 HANGED MAN Kabanda Voids Water; Weak against Fire. Affinity: Water Kabanda's best move is Wall of Water, however his spell progression overall is pretty bad. He starts with Aqua, which is ludicrous for a 24th level Persona, then gains Aques at rank 4, which is the spell he ought to have started with. Select this Persona to protect your party against water attacks (useful in the sewers on Nate's route) but adding a spell is almost essential. Perhaps an ice attack would be good. If you're lucky he'll modify into ROD Nankyoku Roujin. ** A redundant assortment of spells. If he didn't have wall of water, this would be a * Persona. 24 TOWER Kanaloa Voids Darkness, Holy, Water. Affinity: Water Of the three water Personae in this level range, Kanaloa is head and shoulders above the other two. His resistances are superior, his spells are not merely water attacks but also throw and darkness. His mutation spell, Transfixion, is fairly rare and somewhat powerful. He also possesses a Rumor spell, Wonderful Aques, which is part of a unique fusion. On top of all that, he has Media, which while weak, is still useful. *** This is the best water Persona in the low 20s 24 SWORD Kanshou Voids Attack, Sword. Affinity: Wind ~Requires: mutation from another Persona level 20-24 Kanshou is all about sword attacks. He has several different sword techniques, plus the ability to increase the attack power and agility of party members. If you want a strong physical attack Persona, Kanshou's not bad for its level. However, I don't think you really need one that much. If he had more defensive powers, such as voiding darkness, or if you could add a spell, this Persona would be much more useful. As it is, its somewhat lacking. ** A well-focused Persona, unfortunately an unneeded one. 25 JUSTICE Mars Strong against Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Expect to summon this Persona. Mars is the origin of the Strength Source item, which, like the Lucky source, grants an extra attribute point at level up. Fortunately, Mars is not exactly a bad Persona. He has fire, sword, and holy attacks, as well as Media. Media is always handy, even if its just used for some out of combat healing. (Remember though, healing spells help a Persona rank up faster...) His mutation spell, Fire Storm, is pretty potent. You might be tempted to add a spell to him, since he doesn't have the terminal spell for a fusion, but since you're probably going to return him for his item ASAP, its not worth it unless you've got lots of extra spell cards (poisma or something like that perhaps; or a maha garu spell to increase flexibility in fusions). *** A reasonable, self-contained package, easy to level up and return 26 LOVERS Jack O'Lantern Absorbs Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Jack O' Lantern is a bit more useful than his icy counterpart. His spell progression is a bit strange, but he can participate in fusions reasonably well. I personally had stupendous luck with his mutations with Ulala, and he not only ranked up incredibly quickly, he massively increased in power. Jack is also hiding a rumor spell: Dynamic Agilao. His Devil's Smile spell is fairly rare and can be used in a fairly rare fusion (though the other spells needed are a bit higher level so you'd need to keep him around for quite a while to unlock it). Absorbing fire helps put him ahead of Mars in quality. *** A strong fire Persona. 26 EMPRESS Nemesis Voids Mind, Nerve. Affinity: None Nemesis is a very strong neutral Persona. She has no particular vulnerabilities, and she's immune to those annoying status attacks that take your characters out of your control; it might be worth your while to keep her around just to resist them. If you've levelled up enough to summon her for the fifth dungeon, she will be a great asset. Though she has both a water and an ice spell, you can add any element you wish to her. I chose Maha Agionn, making her potent against both fire and water enemies but you could as easily add an air or earth spell. She also has shot, darkness, and healing moves. (She's like a slightly weakened version of Maia Custom.) She would work well on any of the women, and if you can summon her, I'd seriously consider replacing Nike on Ellen with Nemesis. Because she is immune to mind and nerve spells you could also increse her recovery powers and make her a healer. **** Very flexible Persona with rare defensive capabilities. D. Personae level 27 to 35 This is a much smaller range of Personae than the last set, but I estimate these are the Personae you'll tap for the next dungeon or two. In general, they are noticeably better than what you had available in the low 20s and the next group after this features members who could specifically be usable a few dungeons further along in the game, so I split the list at 35. 27 CHARIOT Taranis Strong against Physical, Weak against Magic. Affinity: Wind Taranis is a fairly mediocre Persona. He does have the spell Killer Wind, which targets all enemies. While it won't complete a fusion as Maha Garula would, it's a stronger spell so it will enhance other fusions it is a part of. His physical attacks are fairly weak, disappointing really. He'd be a good candidate to mutate into ROD Nankyoku Roujin as he has just enough spells to easily participate in fusions; he would also be useful to have in case you run into heavy physical attacks. ** Not too useful. Good mutation candidate, defenses quite so-so. 27 PRIESTESS Tensen Nyan Nyan Reflects Mind/Nerve. Affinity: None Tensen Nyan Nyan is a status effect-oriented Persona. Consequently, she's fairly weak in combat as the status attacks generally have only a small chance of affecting a foe. Her final normal spell is Medirama, and her mutation spell is Recarm. If you are able to get her to rank 8 and unlock that mutation spell, she could be a fairly strong support Persona. However, I had a hard time ranking her up. I think she has one of the slowest rank-up patterns in the game. If you're going to use her, put a primo attack spell on her, something that will complete a mutation like a Maha spell of the second power level or freila or something like that, and hope for a 2-rank up mutation. *** Potentially a good support Persona, she is a bit of a fixer-upper 28 HERMIT Grinbulsti Resists Physical; Weak against Mind/Nerve. [Check these attributes] Grinbulsti is one of the worst Personae I've seen in terms of defense. I believe that his Resists Physical is a half-strength version of Strong against Physical, so it's not too great. And his weakness? If there's any status attack used on you, you WILL succumb. His spells are really not useful either. However, his return item is a material card which allows you to summon another Persona, so I do recommend you summon him and use the cheesy quick rank-up trick: Place a Dia card on him, (yes, DIA), go to Kasu High, get into a fight with some very low-level demons. Set combat to auto, have everyone defend, and have the person with Grinbulsti just cast Dia until they run out of spell points. Since healing spells rank you faster than combat spells, this is the quickest and safest way to go. * Worth only for his return item, or he would be a - 28 EMPORER Marduk Voids Fire; Weak against Water. Affinity: Fire Marduk's a decent elemental Persona. He's actually not quite as good with fire as Jack O' Lantern is, but he has Posumudi (Antidote/cure poison) which is always useful, and Straight Slash. His mutation spell is Freila, which helps a lot. Finally, his return item is the Agility Source (though you can get it another way too). Most of the male characters suffer for Agility, so this is a great source for them. *** Pretty typical 1-note Persona, but a good return item and no really bad weaknesses 28 ROD Nankyoku Roujin Strong against Magic; Weak against Physical ~Requires: mutation from another Persona level 25-27 Nankyoku Roujin has several different fire attacks and some status powers. He has two noteworthy spells. The first is Pine Bamboo Plum. The name refers to certain trees revered in Japanese culture, but the spell is a very strong healing move. It randomly heals every party member for some amount of damage, usually 1-250 points. That makes it potentially more potent than Medirama. His mutation spell is Summon Spirit, which is the silence all spell. It's also the spell that fuses with all rumor spells, and fairly rare. There are only about a half-dozen Personae which can learn this spell, and Nankyoku Roujin is the first of them. **** Good fire Persona with special healing and fusion powers. Worth making a point of getting. 29 STRENGTH Kerepres Strong against Ice, Lightning, Nuclear; Weak against Attack, Strike. Affinity: Water Kerepres has physical, water, and ice attacks, which is a fairly good mix. Acid Rain, Blizzard Breath, and Wing Beat attack all your opponents. They're potentially very useful - but watch out for demons that reflect them, especially since they effect all. ** Average Persona. Good candidate to try to mutate into Yebisu. It's interesting that she resists all three of the secondary element types. 29 HIEROPHANT Shaka Strong against All. Affinity: Earth ~Requires: Material Card Yuiga Dokuson Shaka is a very powerful Persona. His defenses are great. Note that being strong against all subsumes Void: Dark/Holy. Shaka's attacks are Holy and Lightning based. He also has Mafui and Recarm. His mutation spell is Refresh Ring (very useful in general!). Put a potent spell of your choice on him, possibly a strong healing spell, or an elemental attack of your choice. **** A very good all-around Persona. 30 STAR Kenren Taishou Absorbs Ice; Voids Water; Weak against Fire ~Member of Gensomaden Saiyuki With a mix of strong water attacks and Maha Mudo, Kenren Taishou will probably serve you well. His Tetraja is useful, and his mutation spell is Wall of Water. A very good water Persona. *** Above average water Persona. 31 WORLD Demeter Voids Darkness, Holy. Affinity: None Demeter's got an odd bag of moves but I've always found her useful. Diarama's not the greatest healing spell, but it's better than nothing and it's good for ranking with. Ninety Nine Needles, Marin Karin, Maha Magnus and Magdyne are all fusion components. You could enhance her usefulness with another attack, probably water, almighty (zanma perhaps) or a nuclear spell, depending on your other Personae. As an extra bonus, she gives a Tec bonus, and Katsuya will probably be her main user and in need of such by now. A kaja spell might also be useful. Also, she hides a rumor spell. *** A nice overall earth Persona, I think of her as being somewhat defensive but I think that's just the way I play her. 31 MOON Maia Custom Voids Darkness, Holy, Mind/Nerve. Affinity: None ~Requires: Mutation from MOON Maia. Useable only by Maya Before I analyze Maia Custom, let me explain that a great deal of her usefulness comes from getting her much earlier than you would be able to summon her, when your characters are perhaps as low as 13th level. Consequently, her powers are all abnormally strong when your party first gets her, but are actually fairly typical for her level. Still, Maia Custom's defenses are pretty much top-notch. Only "Strong Against Everything" is better, really. Hama is the same as the starting Persona, and now it's a ludicriously weak spell. It should have been replaced with Mahanma in my opinion. Invitation to Sleep is a new move, it's somewhat useful. Scratch gives her a basic physical attack (and I always like a Persona to have one off-type move for versatility's sake). Aqua is replaced with Maha Aques, and its fusion was probably a huge help to you when you got it. Like Maia, she has Multidimension as her final spell. In case you didn't read the earlier entry, notice that its category is "(Special) Type: None." This means taht Multidimension does not count as magic and can be used on demons that void and reflect magic!! (You'll be encountering some of those annoying things by this level... :) This makes it one of the most powerful spells in the entire game, even if the success rate isn't high. I don't know if Maya's LUC (or perhaps TEC) affects its success, but I suspect that one of them do because I brought Maia Custom out again at the end of the game and my success rate was at least four out of five with it. **** Maia Custom's mutation spell is Recarm, thus, along with her defensive statuses and Medirama, she's a 1-woman revive and restore system. 32 JUDGMENT Melchisedec Reflects Holy; Weak against Darkness. Affinity: None I'm surprised this isn't categorized as a Wind Persona, it has quite a few Wind moves, plus some sword and holy. I suppose the angel nature makes it a holy (and therefore a "none" affinity) Persona. Sadly, it's a 'weak angel' and is easily dispatched by dark, though it reflects holy. However, that's pretty useless: most things with holy attacks void them, just like this Persona. I'd pass on summoning Melchisedec and just get a more generic wind Persona if I were you. ** Average moves, poor defenses... not worth bothering with. 32 PENTACLE Yebisu Strong against Magic; Weak against Physical. Affinity: Earth All of the pentacles are good, Yebisu is a favorite among Persona 2 fans for being one of the best of its level and its arcanum. It starts with Diarama, which is good for healing one person who definitely needs reliable healing, but also gets Pine Bamboo Plum (which despite the variability, really does usually heal quite a bit). Yebisu has Maka Kaja and Raku Kaja, which you would expect to pretty much cement it in the role of support/healing. However, at rank 7 it gets Rock Fall, which is an Earth/attack all spell, and very good for fusion attacks, and at rank 8 it gets Summon Spirit. **** Wonderful healing Persona with useful (if specialized) attack fusion capabilities 33 HERMIT Byakko Voids Ice, Water; Weak against Fire. Affinity: Water ~Unusual Compatibility: At least Good compatibility with all characters! Member of Shiijin Tenchishou set Byakko is a special case among Personae. By himself, he's fairly weak, but he has some extra factors going for him. First of all, he can participate in not one but TWO special fusions with other members of his pantheon - and unlike several other such spells, these are both GOOD fusions. Secondly, he's unusually compatible, this is probably to encourage you to use him in those full-pantheon fusions (though he'll mutate best for Maya and Ulala). The spells he needs for those fusions are Wall of Water and any water attack spell. His best water spell is Acid Rain, but since the rest of his pantheon is a bit higher level, it would be to your advantage to put the strongest water attack spell possible on him (Torrent card to give him Maha Aquadyne if possible). Since this pantheon has one Persona of each element, my general advice for elemental sets applies (see section III.A). Anyway, on with the main analysis. Byakku learns only 5 spells but each is distinctive. One physical attack, Suku Kaja (which enhances speed), one water attack, one ice attack, and Wall of Water. A very good mix, it's just that the spells are somewhat weak. Blizzard Breath attacks all, but its power is level-based so it might not be so good at first, but if you keep him around it will equalize things some. Acid Rain also attacks all, but the damage is relatively low. His mutation spell is Absolute Zero, which isn't really much better than Blizzard Breath. Still, he's fairly easy to mutate. If you add Maha Aquadyne he should power-up quite quickly, and any of the party can use him. His defenses are also a bit better than typical for a water Persona. (Special), *** if considered normally. 33 SUN Heimdal Reflects Lightning; Voids Wind; Weak against Earth. Affinity: Wind ~Member of the Ragnarok Combatants Heimdal's a pretty versatile Persona. If you want a Wind Persona, I'd definitely pick Heimdal over Melchesdic. He has a couple of ice attacks along with Maha Garula (good for triggering fusions) and Killer Wind (his mutation spell, better for boosting air fusions when he doesn't need to complete them). Soothing Melody's not a very strong healing move, but as previously mentioned it's a component to some good status attack fusions. Add any spell you find useful to him; you'll probably find yourself doing ice+ice fusions with him and Byakko. Heimdal can particpate in a pantheon-specific fusion, though it's not a great one. **** Solid Persona, unusual mix of wind and ice (ice being more common on water Personae). 34 MAGICIAN Agrippa Strong against Magic; Weak against Physical. Affinity: Fire Agrippa's sort of a fill-in Persona. He has a good mix of abilities, but nothing spectacular. His best spell is probably Megido, and his mutation spell is Summon Spirit. With darkness, almighty, and fire attacks, he can help with several fusions though can't complete any. Once Summon Spirit unlocks, he may be a bit more useful. Still, I suspect you're mostly going to have him cast Megido to chew up your opponents. It's a VERY nice change to have a fire Persona that's NOT weak against water though. *** An ok fire Persona, Jack of all trades, master of none. 34 PRIESTESS Sif Reflects Lighting; Voids Wind; Weak against Earth. Affinity: Wind Sif has the same defensive properties as Heimdall. However, her powers are mostly lightning and status-related. You may find yourself actually adding Maha Garula or the like to her, otherwise she's likely only going to be doing lightning+lightning fusions. Also, Sif is definitely one of the Personaes that takes quite a while to rank up. You'll really appreciate any mutation/two ranks up that you get. Her spells Tetraja, Diarama, and Kotoludi will come in handy. Despite being Thor's wife in Norse mythology, she is NOT a part of the Ragnarock pathenon fusion. *** Add an air spell, useful support Persona in general. 35 CHARIOT Seiten Taisei Voids Fire; Weak against Water Seiten Taisei starts out with Maha Agionn, and that's a Good Thing, as he's able to cast powerful fusions right at the start. His kotoludi might be useful (especially if you don't have Sif). He has two physical attacks, not bad. His mutation spell is Killer Wind, which gives him a second element. Sama Kaja boosts spell defense; not a critical spell but useful. Megido is a very strong almighty spell. I consider him a fairly strong Persona, but I don't find him a candidate for adding another spell. I wouldn't bother adding another elemental attack spell because he has fire, air, and almighty already; I wouldn't add another status curing or support spell to him, and physical attacks aren't an option. If you were desperate to have another element, maybe lightning, sure, go ahead, add a zionga or freila to him if that's what you need. But don't go out of your way to put a spell on him. *** Very useful mix of spells in a fire Persona. 35 FOOL Tenjiku Tokubei **** It's a FOOL, they pretty much all rock. But you might want to save your card...they're very rare and this one's not essential. E. Personae level 36 to 50 This part of the game seems to be where the differences in play style really start to become apparent. Some people really leap forward in the levels, while others start to use use Estoma or focus on negotiation. Consequently, people tackle the next several dungeons at a lot of different levels. By now, you should be developing good resources (in terms of Tarot cards and spell card selection). Hopefully, you're mastering the trick of summoning Personae in useful sets. The Personae in this range represent a new level of power, and consequently, any Persona that has spells typical for this level is going to be pretty good. Furthermore, this is the point where this guide becomes more from memory than from recently-taken notes. 36 CUP Galahad *** 36 TOWER Loki ** 36 EMPRESS Seioubo ** 37 EMPEROR Baal *** 37 TEMPERANCE Stuparideth * 38 STAR Heinir ***/**** 38 JUSTICE Nata ***/**** 38 WORLD Njord **** 39 DEVIL Surt *** 39 HIEROPHANT Yama *** 40 HERMIT Genbu *** 40 PENTACLE Peri *** 41 HANGED MAN Barbatos ** 41 PRIESTESS Parvati *** 42 TOWER Aeshma *** 42 LOVERS Vivian **/*** 43 CHARIOT Susano ** 43 STRENGTH Takshaka * 44 DEATH Ankou **** 44 JUSTICE Gundari Myouou ** 44 ROD Nodens *** 45 EMPORER Hurakan ** 46 SUN Il-Dana special 47 DEATH Charon * 47 MOON Succubus **** 48 JUDGEMENT Armati * 48 SWORD Chu Chulainn ***/**** 48 EMPRESS Rinok *** 49 MAGICIAN Abe no Seimei ****+special 50 CHARIOT Ares *** 50 TOWER Seeker *** 50 FOOL Tobi Katou special F. Personae level 51 to 69 51 FORTUNE Cerberus 51 MOON Tsukuyomi 51 PRIESTESS Izanami 52 CUP Bacchus 52 EMPORER Indra 52 JUSTICE Skanda 53 HIEROPHANT Mithra 54 MOON Maihime Amano SPECIAL 54 TEMPERANCE Phoenix 54 WORLD Mucalinda 55 FOOL Junnoske Kuroda SPECIAL 55 MAGICIAN Manana 55 PRIESTESS Hathor 56 HERMIT Kinich Ahau 56 STRENGTH Vrita 56 SWORD Arthur 57 HANGED MAN Adramelech 58 SUN Tatsunoshin Suou SPECIAL 58 WORLD Seiryu 59 CHARIOT Mahakala 59 JUSTICE Bishamonten 60 ROD Quetzalcoatl 60 STAR Valkyrie 61 DEVIL Beelzebub 61 EMPRESS Kali 61 HANGED MAN Prometheus SPECIAL 62 MAGICIAN Isis 62 STAR Astria SPECIAL 62 SUN Apollo SPECIAL 62 TOWER Hastur 62 WORLD Uruboros 63 JUSTICE Hyperion SPECIAL 63 MOON Artemis SPECIAL 63 TEMPERANCE Suzaku 64 FORTUNE Urd 64 PENTACLE Sarasvati 64 PRIESTESS Scathach 65 EMPORER Odin 65 FOOL Fuuma Kotaru 65 FORTUNE Verdandi 66 FORTUNE Skuld 66 STAR Hanuman 67 HIEROPHANT Varuna 68 CUP Dagda 68 STRENGTH Wong Long 68 TOWER Seth 69 JUDGEMENT Amurtart 69 MAGICIAN Rangda G. Personae level 70 to 99 70 FORTUNE Fenrir 70 STAR Fariedone 71 HERMIT Tishtoriya 71 PRIESTESS Lakshmi 72 EMPORER Lugh 72 HIEROPHANT Alfred 72 SWORD Futsuno Mitama 73 MOON Nannar 73 SUN Virocana 74 DEATH Mot 74 JUSTICE Pallas Athena 76 JUDGEMENT Gabriel 77 FORTUNE Gyokukoujoutei 78 EMPRESS Gaia 80 LOVERS Alice 82 HIEROPHANT Brahma 83 JUDGEMENT Michael 85 CHARIOT Shiva 86 EMPORER Vishnu 88 WORLD Shokuin 90 HANGED MAN Azazel 96 JUDGEMENT Satan 99 DEVIL Lucifer H. FOOL Personae III. Optimized Groups A. Any Four Elementals When creating a matched set of 4 Personae of different elements, always add Earth to Water (and vice-versa) and Fire to Air (and vice-versa), and preferably make the add-on spell a Maha version. That guarantees that you'll always have 2 of the same element, one a terminal spell, and at least 1 of the element necessary to link them. B. Ancestors These three Personae are the returned ancestors Maya and the Suou brothers, along with one of the characters from Innocent Sin who appears only as a supporting NPC in this game. The ancestors each have only two moves, one starter and one gained at rank 8. However, they have a fusion move with their rank 8 moves that almost insta-kills the boss of the dungeon their requirements come from. 54 MOON Maihime Amano 55 FOOL Junnoske Kuroda 58 SUN Tatsunoshin Suou C. Ultimate Personae These personae are high-level character specific Personae. You can use them as your end-game Personae, though there are some more powerful ones in the game. Overall, they're pretty good and the main party's set have a group fusion move. 61 HANGED MAN Prometheus 62 STAR Astria 62 SUN Apollo 63 JUSTICE Hyperion 63 MOON Artemis IV. Tips & Tricks Quick Rankup Trick: If you need to rank up a low level persona, and you are past the point where you would consider it possibly useful, do not despair. I discovered something while trying to rank up Kimnara so that I could return him for a cheap Escape card when I was very high level. If you do a fusion using a persona that's significantly lower level than the person using it, that persona will get gobs of extra rank up points. And I mean, do a fusion --> gain a rank. Or two. I experimented and found out how many levels it needed to be, and I can't remember the exact amount now, but it's about 30 or 40 which is actually not too bad. Still, it's only likely you'll be doing this for a handful of Personae. V. Credits & Thanks Thanks go to Dollies, for posting her game play diary and thus helping me get through the game the first time; Archaeopteryx, for writing a massive FAQ and being a great answer guy on the Gamfaqs board; Hyral (aka Yushiro) for providing some sanity-saving info on the boards as well; Sasoriza for tackling fight strategies and being a real booster of the game; Beans for giving me another reason to work on this; and the GameFAQs board in general for being helpful and supportive. I also have to give some credit to the people on the SMT: Nocturne board who nagged me into doing this. Valorous and ... ?