For many video game players, the challenge of earning a hard-earned victory against a hard-fought foe is one of the best rewards and rushes of adrenaline you’ll find. Persona is chock full of difficulty and challenges, not least of which comes from the Reaper enemy. A recurring optional boss in the modern Persona games, he is a nuisance to take down. But I aim to make it as easy as possible in this Persona 5 Reaper guide.
I will be the first to admit I’m not usually a glutton for punishment, but I love the Persona games so much that I try to do everything in them, including taking on the Reaper in each of the three past mainline games. As such, I have taken out the Reaper in both Persona 5 and Royal and can let you know the differences between both versions and how to take him down. Here’s what you need to know in this Persona 5 Reaper guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Reaper is considered one of the most challenging bosses in the Persona series, without being one of the endgame bosses. He is a high-level foe, who is exactly what he sounds like: a Persona who is based on the grim reaper who appears in Mementos in Persona 5. He is one of the most challenging bosses in the game, but with specific exploits, he is easily defeated for the fantastic rewards that he gives to the player.
Persona 5 Reaper Overview
Anything with the name “reaper” in it should terrify you and make you quake in your high school boots in the Persona series. Oddly enough, in the Persona series, there are only a few recurring features besides the Velvet Room (which itself changes with each game) and the Personas.
One of those is the Reaper, a boss enemy considered one of the most challenging bosses in the entire game. Outside of usually one or two endgame-level bosses in a Persona title, he is pretty much the most formidable foe you’ll meet in the game. This doesn’t change with Persona 5.
He is a true challenge for players as you are generally going to face him at a relatively low level in the game. While you could wait until you are at a much higher level to truly stand toe-to-toe with the Reaper in Persona 5, you will gain so much more from trying to take him on earlier in the story.
Thankfully, I’ve got you covered with all of the details you need to know about the Persona 5 Reaper below.
Who Is the Reaper? History Explained
First, it’s time for a little history lesson. I know that there are quite a few Persona 5 fans out there who started with this entry in the series since it is the most successful by a long shot. If that is the case, you may not realize that the Reaper even exists (presumably you do if you’re reading this) or how long his history is in the series.
The Reaper first appeared in Persona 3, with the onset of the modern-day Persona gameplay style. In that game, he was a Persona (at least it seems that way, even though you can’t obtain or fuse him) that you could meet in the main dungeon of Tartarus.
This is the dungeon that was the primary setting for Persona 3, and the Reaper would appear after a few minutes randomly in that dungeon. All the player had to do was stick around on the same floor for too long, and the Reaper would eventually appear with all of his horrifying powers in tow.
This carried over to Persona 3’s other versions, Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden. In the Persona 4 games, it was handled a little differently, with the treasure chests being the home of this beast. In the original Persona 4, on your second playthrough only, you could encounter him in a chest.
In Golden, though, it was changed that you could meet him on the first playthrough if you dared. Since then, he has even appeared in some of the spin-off games like the Persona Q titles and even the recent Persona 5 Strikers action-RPG spin-off game.
In every game he is featured in, the Reaper is notable for his signature chains sound in the distance and the alarming lack of music. The ambient sounds of his approach are horrifying, and one of the most bone-chilling moments you’ll ever encounter in a Persona experience.
Where to Find the Reaper in Persona 5
With all of that out of the way, you may be wondering how to encounter the Reaper in Persona 5. After all, each of the previous games handled him in a different manner. Plus, unlike Persona 3, there isn’t a single main dungeon that you are using in this game, but multiple Palaces that appear throughout your adventure.
It would be pretty unfair and disappointing if the mechanic tied into being in a Palace for too long since that is the whole point of the game. Thankfully, that isn’t the case at all. Instead, the Persona 5 Reaper is found in Mementos, the semi-optional randomly generated dungeon in the Metaverse.
You can access Mementos almost every day of the calendar year, with so many different floors to explore. In this mine of side quests and foes to hunt down, this is where you will find the Reaper in Persona 5. If you dare to take him on, there is one way to ensure that he appears for you in the game.
What you want to do is first go through Mementos until you reach the area known as the Path of Aiyatsbus. From this region forward, in the Mementos dungeon, you’ll be able to meet the Reaper. In general, it is thought that he appears about two minutes (maybe a little longer) after staying on the same floor.
So, if you want to meet your maker, stick around on that floor for a few minutes, and you’ll begin to hear those signature chains rattling. At this point, the Reaper will appear on the floor, know your immediate location, and start hunting you down at all costs. This is how you take on one of the most demanding dungeon bosses in the entire massive JRPG.
How to Defeat the Persona 5 Reaper
It’s time to take down the grim reaper. If you’re ready to say no to the god of death, you’re in the right place. What is notable about the Reaper fight is that it differs, much like the Persona 4 situation, between the base version of Persona 5 and the expanded Royal version.
As such, I will break down the fight for both of these versions but keep in mind that if you’re playing the base game, this fight is almost nothing. You are basically guaranteed a win so long as you survive long enough, whereas it is genuinely a challenge in Persona 5 Royal.
While I don’t think many players check out the original Persona 5 these days unless they have it for free on PS4 or only own a PS3, it is worth mentioning, too. Most people likely play Persona 5 Royal these days due to its prominence on all of the major platforms.
Persona 5 Reaper Despair XP Exploit
For those who are playing Persona 5, there is an exploit that renders this fight almost entirely useless. You don’t have to do almost anything at all to win this fight, and you are guaranteed a victory. This is fantastic for those players who want multiple rewards and to level up super fast in the game.
Now, I know some players don’t want an exploit and want to earn the win. If that is you, skip to the next section, where I break down this entire fight in full for you. Otherwise, Persona 5 players can enjoy this exploit that lets you pretty much guarantee a win against the Reaper, even at a lower level.
First and foremost, keep in mind that this exploit can only happen on certain days of the calendar year. You won’t be able to do this until much later in the game, honestly, near the end of the main story. The dates that you can do this exploit are as follows:
- November 13-15
- December 8-9
Those are the only guaranteed days that you can do it since they are the days in the calendar year when a flu warning happens in Mementos. It is flu season during this time in Japan, and, oddly enough, this sickly season affects Mementos in some intriguing ways.
If you’ve never played on one of these days, what you’ll find is that every enemy you come across will likely have the flu. This causes despair for them, and they will die within a few turns. Believe it or not, this even goes for the reaper of death himself.
You want to ensure you have a high enough team to survive attacks and plenty of items. Then head into Mementos and spend some time on the floors until the Persona 5 Reaper appears. At this point, you want to interact with the Reaper and ensure that he has the despair status ailment.
There is a possibility that he won’t have the status ailment each time you try this. If he doesn’t, try to escape as soon as you can and move to the next floor in Mementos. You want to keep trying until you find that the Reaper has the despair status ailment.
At this point, all you need to do is survive for three total turns for the Reaper, and he will die automatically. This will still grant you all of the expected rewards as if you actually took on this fight and won it. The best part? You can redo this as many times as you want.
Just head to the next floor, rechallenge the Reaper (so long as he has despair), and keep moving. Just make sure to save between fights to ensure you don’t lose any progress through a mistake or accident. Using this method, players can reach the max level in a relatively short period of time.
What to Do in Royal
Unfortunately, Atlus doesn’t seem to be a massive fan of exploiting one of the most challenging bosses in Persona 5. As such, the exploit mentioned above was only available for the original game. It was removed in Persona 5 Royal with the Reaper no longer being able to catch the flu, which is unfortunate for those who might have wanted the easy way out.
That said, it is still possible to defeat the Reaper at a decent enough level, too, where you don’t have to grind all that much. Below, you’ll find all of the tips and tricks that you need to know about in order to beat the Reaper in Persona 5 Royal in the fairest way possible.
I will note that there is, believe it or not, an exploit you can somewhat use for this fight still (sort of), but I will save that for last. For those who wish to take on the Reaper in his true strength, here’s everything you need to know about it.
Stats and Resistances
For starters, let’s begin by taking a look at the stats that the Reaper has. Here are some of the basic statistics about this boss fight that you should know:
- Reaper level: Level 85
- 5000 health points (quite a lot)
- 12,000 SP (he won’t be running out of SP for his skills anytime soon, so don’t count on this part)
- Max 99 Strength stat
- 80 Magic
- 80 Endurance
- 75 Agility
- 80 Luck
As you can see, the Reaper is one of the most formidable enemies out there, with some of the most robust stats you will find for any boss of this level. I would argue that with these stats, it is more potent than any of the main story bosses that you fight in the core story of Persona 5. This is, of course, excluding the bosses you fight in Royal’s third semester, who are generally higher leveled and more powerful.
That said, it has a few resistances that you should know about. For one, you won’t be able to take it out using insta-kill attacks or anything like that. Unlike the base Persona 5 days, it is immune to status conditions, too, so you won’t be able to put to sleep or do anything like that, in addition to the lack of despair support.
Lastly, you won’t be able to rely on critical hits or anything like that to help you down Reaper. Speaking of downing him, there are no weaknesses that he has, so there aren’t any particular vital skills you can use in battle against him.
But on the flip side, he has no elemental resistances, either, so you can throw whatever you like at him. This is crucial since he will be a formidable foe to take down. Overall, this is going to be an even playing field with which you’ll be able to fight him.
How to Prepare
Just as much as the fight itself is essential are what skills you use in the battle, so is the preparation you make beforehand. You see, what you want to do is come prepared. What I always recommend to players is not to go into this fight with characters who are less than level 60.
This effectively means you’ll have to grind quite a bit just to be able to do this fight, or you’ll want to ensure that you are deep enough into the main plot before you even attempt taking on the Reaper. This part alone is crucial just for survival purposes, as I will try to help you mitigate much of the issues surrounding this fight in a bit.
Next up is your need for the skill Makarakarn. This is an ability that several Persona can learn, and it can also be taught through the form of skill cards. You want to ensure you have at least one or two Personas that can use this ability.
It prevents your team from being hit by elemental skills like Agi or Frei. The idea here has to do with the skill set that Reaper has and the abilities he tends to use in combat. If you have this ability for your team, you’re already a massive part of the way toward winning this fight.
From here, it is all about healing and items. I recommend having plenty of characters with healing abilities plus revive skills. You also want to come loaded with items that can recover HP and SP and restore downed party members. This is not the time to be conservative with your yen. This is when you want to splurge and use all your money on the best money and equipment you can afford.
At this point, you are finally ready for this fight. As for the party members, it matters little other than I recommend having characters who have healing skills and Makarakarn if possible. Other than that, go with whoever has the highest level and/or you’re most comfortable fighting with.
Skills to Watch Out for
Keep in mind that the Reaper has his own set of skills that you need to worry about in combat. He pretty much has access to every skill imaginable in the game, within reason. If there is an element, he has the skills for it and will absolutely use these to his advantage.
He will target the weaknesses in your party every single turn to maximize damage and have more turns to attack you. This is a massive problem, so it doesn’t matter what your resistances or weaknesses are; he will find a way around it.
And, worse still, let’s say you go in prepared with all of your weaknesses covered or none at all. He will turn around and break those resistances, making you weak to them in the end. This is where this fight can feel impossible to accomplish, but that is where our preparation comes into play.
In general, if you cover your bases, as I will cover further in your turn strategy below, there is only one skill you need to worry about from Reaper, and that is Megidolaeon. That is the only skill he will use other than concentrating every other turn to charge up the power of that ability.
This Almighty attack generally can’t be blocked or resisted since it is the hidden final element in Persona. It is immensely powerful, dealing some severe Almighty damage to your team that you won’t be able to block or minimize. Thankfully, though, it is the only thing you’ll need to worry about.
Party to Use
As mentioned, the party you use in this fight is up to you. I like characters like Haru, Makoto, Morgana, and/or Akechi for their flexibility and valuable skills, but it is ultimately to you who you want to use in this fight alongside Joker.
I recommend just using the characters who have healing on your team and the most powerful skills around. If there is a significant level disparity between your team, be sure to account for this and only use the characters who are at the highest level in the Phantom Thieves.
What to Do on Each Turn
Now it is time to actually do the fight. This is the crazy part but never engage with Reaper first. When he hunts you down on the map in Mementos, it might be your first inclination to attack first. Don’t do this, though. Let him come to you and attack you first.
This ambush will actually weaken him a little bit, causing him to not attack twice in the same turn. This will limit him to a single move, so let him ambush you, first and foremost.
Once you get into the battle, though, the first move you should make is Makarakarn. This ability is your go-to, and you need to ensure that your party is covered by it at every single turn of this battle. Otherwise, you are liable to be wiped in a single turn. His powerful elemental attacks will take advantage of your weaknesses to grant multiple turns and likely end your battle instantly.
After ensuring your priority of having Makarakarn on your team, this part is almost entirely up to you. The goal here is to deal as much damage as possible. The key to doing this while keeping your team alive is this delicate balance between the turns that Reaper has.
In general, what he mostly does is spend one turn to use Concentrate. This is to boost his next attack, which will be the usual party-wide Almighty skill. The key here is to use the Concentrate turn to heal up while you can, then turn around and attack around the time that Reaper is attacking.
This lets you keep dealing damage while recovering at a decent speed. Unfortunately, the lower your level in this fight, the higher chance you’ll have to recover every other turn when he’s using Concentrate anyways. If you are higher enough in level and with solid equipment, and possibly some decent buffs, you may not have to heal up that much.
As for what damage-dealing skills you should use, it’s whatever your team has the best. Suppose you have Agidyne on one party member and Garula on another party member, for instance. In that case, you’re going to want to use the former party member since that is going to be higher overall damage each round.
At this point, it is pretty much a rinse-and-repeat scenario. Keep firing off the Makarakarn skill to keep your team covered, deal as much damage as possible, heal up whenever necessary, throw down some more Makarakarn, and repeat as necessary until you eventually win the fight.
Final Exploitative Tips and Tricks
While the Reaper fight in Persona 5 is mostly rinse and repeat for most of it, there are some tips and tricks I have for you that should help you to do the best you possibly can in this battle. I will also end these tips with a final one that is what I consider to be my last exploit for this fight if you genuinely need some extra help:
- First off, guard if you need to when Reaper is about to use his attack skill. This is a slower method of fighting, but some of the lower-level parties attempting this fight may need the boost.
- This fight inherently gets easier each time you do it because you level up so much. While the fight can feel like forever, it might be worth grinding over and over, so long as you have the items, for reaching max level as soon as possible.
- Make sure to have Personas on Joker that are roughly around his level, if not higher; honestly use Caroline and Justine to make sure your skills are the best they can be.
- Some of the Confidants will offer some excellent benefits that will help in this fight, such as Hifumi Togo’s party member switching feature and Shinya Oda’s gun skills.
- One of the rewards from the Reaper will allow a character to take half damage. Equipping this on them will make this fight even more effortless.
- Remember to let Reaper attack you first. Otherwise, he will have too many attacks per turn.
Finally, the exploit you need to know about: I get that some players may want the easy route of this fight. If that’s you, it’s relatively simple. Turn down the difficulty to its lowest setting. This gives you countless restarts in a fight so your party members can keep fighting even after getting downed each time.
This is a cheat almost, but the game lets you turn down the difficulty here if you need some help. There is honestly nothing wrong with turning it down for this fight, winning it, and then turning it back up. In fact, you can use the first one to get the level boost you need to actually be able to adequately win the fight later on.
Rewards for Defeating the Reaper
There are two primary rewards you get from the Reaper fight. The first one is the experience from this fight, which varies considerably. The least you’ll get is 60,000 experience, and the most are in the couple of hundred thousand of XP.
The other reward is also chance-based and you won’t get it every time. This is the Divine Pillar accessory, which a party member can use to half all damage taken, which is impressive. Of course, beating this the first time also gets you a trophy and/or achievement.
Question: Can you Kill the Reaper in Persona 5?
Answer: You can’t really kill the Reaper in Persona 5. You can defeat him, sure, but he always comes back. This is a good thing, though, since you can infinitely grind him for XP.
Question: How Hard is the Reaper Persona 5?
Answer: I would say that Reaper is undoubtedly more challenging than any non-Royale story boss, but not as difficult as the endgame bosses in Persona 5.
Question: What is the Reaper Weak to Persona 5?
Answer: The Reaper is weak to nothing in Persona 5. Thankfully, it isn’t resistant to any elements, either, though.
Time for the Next Insanely Difficult Persona Boss
The Reaper is one of the most challenging bosses you’ll fight in Persona 5, being one of the most challenging but rewarding challenges you can find in this JRPG. However, he is far from the most demanding boss you’ll ever face in the entire series. Many bosses make an argument for that status.
If you want to know about two of the bosses that are much harder, in my opinion, in the Persona series, be sure to check out Nyx in Persona 3 and Margaret in Persona 4 Golden.
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