The Persona series is known for its deep and rich turn-based JRPG gameplay. Within this gameplay, there are a lot of skills that you can use in battle. There are so many of them that some players must use a Persona skills guide to play the games.
A Persona skills guide is recommended because of the confusing way some skills are. Skills in this series have their unique names and quirks to them. They are precise, and the terms themselves do little to give away what they do. Not to mention, there are so many categories of skills as well. Thankfully, that is where we come in with our guide to all types of Persona skills.
Bottom Line Up Front
A Persona skill is an ability that you can use in battle. The Persona that your character has equipped will determine what powers you can use. If you switch Personas, the skills will change. Some skills are elemental ones that are meant for taking advantage of weaknesses.
Others are standard physical and gun-based attacking skills. Still, more is meant for recovering health and buffing your team. While even more skills are meant for curing status ailments and debuffing the enemy. There are many different skills in the Persona games, but here are the basic categories you should know about:
- Physical Skills
- Gun Skills
- Buff Skills
- Debuff Skills
- Dia/Recovery Skills
- Passive Skills
Persona Skills Explained
First and foremost, what are skills in the Persona games? Across all six of the mainline games and even some of the spin-off ones, skills are some of the most critical parts. Skills are essentially the various abilities that you can use in battle.
The Persona games are turn-based JRPGs; they use a variety of skills that are akin to the magic in other games. These abilities are crucial to winning fights. There are also many different types of them that you can use within battles.
The purpose of these skills varies greatly from attacking enemies to defending your team and everything in between. There are even changes from game to game, with some titles using different skills than others. In the end, though, much of the Persona skills come from its parent series.
The Shin Megami Tensei series established what skills it uses, and the Persona series takes many of those same ones. So, if you know the SMT games, you will be good to go in Persona and vice versa. But if you don’t know the skills in either game, it can be kind of confusing.
For one, the skills that your player character can use in battle are determined by the Persona you have—most of the abilities that you can use come from the Persona that you have equipped. If you switch Personas in the middle of battle, you will have different skills.
How Players Use Skills in Battle
So, for players to use specific skills in battle, they need to make sure they have the right Persona. If they want to use a specific elemental attack, they must switch to that specific partner. Or, if they would like to recover, they should switch to a recovery Persona.
This is all simple and accessible within the menu of the battle screen. Players can find options for switching Personas and using skills there. To use a skill, though, players must also have SP or skill points. This is like your mana points in other similar games.
HP, or health points, is your health. Without it, you faint and can lose the game. SP, on the other hand, is what you use for commanding skills in battle. If you are out of SP, it is not game over. However, you will not use abilities until you recover them.
At this point, you could still use items in battle and even recover SP that way. There is a bit of a management system to SP in making sure that you can use skills. I would even go so far as to say that skills are the most critical part of battles due to the press turn system.
In the press turn system in Persona games, you earn an extra turn for each critical hit or weakness you exploit. Critical hits are a bit trickier to pull off and have specific skills. On the other hand, it is almost easy to take advantage of an enemy’s weaknesses.
Once you’ve defeated an enemy before or analyzed them, you know their weaknesses. You just need to take advantage of that, and you are good to go. This will down the enemy, possibly allow you to negotiate or make an all-out attack, and earn an extra turn in battle. That is, of course, if you know the differences between each skill type.
Skill Names are Confusing
You see, one of the most confusing parts about the Persona games for newcomers is the skill names. This is especially true for the elemental ones. If you want to use a fire-based attack in battle, for example, you kind of need to know what its name is.
Unfortunately, Atlus uses an arbitrary naming system for each of its skills. This is carried over from the SMT series, but it can be overwhelming at first. Trying to figure out what Garu does and how it compares to Magaru versus Garula, for instance, is a bit frustrating.
Before mentioning the skill names of other categories like recovery and more, trying to quickly figure out which skill is for recovering health and which one is for dealing with sleep or another status ailment. Fortunately, we are going to break down each of them for you.
All Skill Types You Should Know About
To help with any player, newcomer, or veteran, we will break down skills. Even myself, having beaten almost every mainline game in Persona and SMT, forget what some skills do. I have the general elemental abilities memorized, but some of the status ailment ones still trip me up.
To help with this, I am going to break down all skill types in the Persona games. I will explain what they do, what they are helpful for, and what their darn names mean. There are a lot of skill categories to go over, so let’s go ahead and get started.
First off, there are the traditional physical skills. The most basic of attacks in Persona is physically hitting an enemy. Some characters in the series use daggers, others swords, and more. For many games, a physical skill is a standard ability that can deal severe damage.
Physical skills can be against one enemy or multiple. Some skills in this category have higher critical hit rates. The most notable part about physical skills is games like Persona 3. In this title, physical skills were further divided into three separate categories of slash, strike, and pierce. Later games simplified the first two into one main class.
Gun skills are another standard staple in the Persona series. They are basically like physical skills but ranged instead of melee. It is worth noting that not all games in the series have gun skills, either. That said, gun skills work primarily like melee physical ones.
Some enemies are resistant to these skills or are even immune to them. Some skills will have a high crit chance of applying a status ailment. And, once again, Persona 3 is unique in this category. Like physical skills, there was a particular skill known as pierce. This replaced gun skills and included other ranged weapons like bows and arrows.
Magic Skills: Agi Explained
The magic skills are where the Persona games start to have confusing names. Each of them has a unique name that does not hint at its element. Such is the case with Agi, which is the elemental fire skill. For someone who wants to take advantage of a fire weakness, Agi is the way to go.
Agi is the standard single-target fire attack. Maragi, however, is the area-of-effect version that attacks multiple enemies. There are also longer names that mean more powerful fire attacks, like Agilao. If you see the “ma” in front of an elemental attack, you can usually assume it will attack multiple enemies. It has the chance of burning an enemy.
For Zio, this is the electric-based elemental skill. With this one, players can make shocking attacks on enemies. This is mostly useful for Personas that are weak to electric attacks. However, Zio attacks also have a helpful feature in paralysis.
In some games, you can paralyze an enemy if you use a Zio attack. Even if the enemy is not weak to Zio, this status ailment is practical. Hitting an enemy who is paralyzed will be an instant critical hit. This will possibly allow for an extra turn or even downing the enemy.
Garu and the next elemental attack are a bit weird. But, first, we have Garu, which is one of the newest skills on this list. It is the green elemental attack that is based on wind. For enemies that are weak to wind attacks, Garu is the one that players will want to use in battle.
Garula is an example of a more powerful wind attack. At the same time, Magarula is an example of a more powerful but area-of-effect attack against enemies.
The weird part about Garu is that it is not the only green elemental skill type. The other one is Zan, which has its history in the Persona and SMT series. Zan is not wind type but is the force type. In reality, though, they are essentially the same thing but with different names.
It is not known why some Persona games do not use Zan. It is the original but games like Persona 5 prefer to use Garu. Perhaps there will come a time where they are more fleshed out and individualized. Maybe one will become a nature or grass type while the other will be wind and they can coexist. But, for now, Zan is force type. Mazan is a multiple enemies attack while Zanma is a more powerful version.
One of the most famous elements in the Persona series is Bufu. This is the ice type element and it is known because of Jack Frost. The unofficial but kind of official mascot of Persona and SMT is Jack Frost. His specialty is Bufu and it is a common element.
Like with Zio, Bufu has the chance of freezing an enemy for a little bit in some games. This makes it a powerful ally against the right enemies. Bufula is an example of a stronger version while Mabufula is an AOE ice skill.
Hama is the light-based attack in the Persona series. There is a distinct difference, though, between just Hama and the next skill. Whether it is known as light or bless, Hama fits into a unique category. It is not like other ones that are meant for just damaging enemies.
The Hama skill is known as an insta-kill attack. With this ability, you have a small chance of instantly killing an enemy. The more powerful the Hama skill is, the more chance you have. In addition, if an enemy is weak to this type of attack, you will also have a greater chance of instantly killing them. However, Hama is tricky since most bosses (who you would want to insta-kill) are immune to it.
Bless is a new type of element that was introduced in Persona 5. It is essentially a new name for the light element. However, the difference is that bless contains new skills besides just Hama like Kouha. This new ability deals bless damage against an enemy.
It is not an insta-kill attack so it makes it more useful in battle. In previous games, I never really used Hama and the next ability. However, with Persona 5, this element becomes more useful with skills like Kougaon and more.
Mudo is the dark counterpart to Hama. This is a dark ability and it functions in largely the same way. You have a small chance of instantly eliminating a foe. Unfortunately, the risk is not worth the reward. This is especially true since most bosses are immune to Mudo. Other variants include the more powerful Mudoon.
Curse is the opposite of bless. Also introduced in Persona 5, this new ability made the dark type more useful. There are skills like Eiha and Eiga that you can use. They will deal curse damage without having the annoying quirks of Mudo. It is my hope that it continues forward in future Persona and SMT games because of this.
Another new element in Persona 5 was Psi. Psi is psychic-based elemental attacks. They work mostly like the other ones that are already out there. This element includes the basic ability Psi. The more powerful variant is Psio while the AOE one is Mapsi.
What is interesting about Psi is that they are pretty powerful attacks. They also have the added bonus of dealing extra damage if an enemy has a mental status ailment.
The counterpart to Psi is Frei. This is the nuclear type skill that was added in Persona 5. The base version is Frei with its stronger version being Freila and AOE being Mafrei and so on. Like Psi, Frei is a very powerful skill type in the Persona 5 games.
This is due to the added nature of its technical damage bonus. You will gain extra damage if the target has a burn, freeze, or shock status to it.
Finally, in the list of magical-like elemental skills, we have Almighty. This is one of the most elusive and confusing skill types in the game. This is because you never really see anything about it in the game. For instance, let’s say that you examine the weaknesses of an enemy.
You will see all the various types like bless, curse, and so on but not Almighty. This is a hidden final elemental type in the game. The Almighty skills are hard to find but they are immensely devastating. They deal some serious damage and almost no enemy is immune to it.
The catch to this is that almost no enemy is weak to it, either. That said, Almighty attacks are the way to go in situations where an enemy is resistant to just about everything. They are also useful in quick fights for taking out enemies swiftly. Almighty attacks can target one enemy or multiple. Examples of this type include Megido and Megidola. Life and Spirit Drain are also Almighty attacks that drain your enemy’s HP or SP.
Each character in the Persona games have stats associated with them. This includes your overall attack, defensive power, and so on. There are some skills that allow you to power up your stats and make them stronger. What makes this so useful is that it can make your overall attacks better.
There are some skills that will boost a certain stat while others will boost different ones. Some skills in this category will grant buffs to one ally while others will affect the entire party. For instance, Tarukaja will increase an ally’s attack for three turns.
On the other hand, Rakukaja will increase defense for an ally for three turns. Lastly, there is Sukukaja that will raise the agility of a party member for three turns. There are other abilities that are a mix of these, though, like Heat Riser. Using this one will grant buffs of all three stats to an ally.
The opposite of buffing your allies is debuffing your enemies. This will reduce the stats of the enemies and make them easier to fight. Tarunda will reduce the attack of an enemy for three turns. Meanwhile, Rakunda will do the same to an enemy but for their defense.
Then there is Sukunda that will reduce the agility of a foe for three turns. This will make it easier to hit them and make it harder for them to hit you. Then there are skills that bring all three together like Debilitate. There are also skills that will target multiple enemies.
And then there are the status ailments. There are skills that will brainwash, put to sleep, cause despair, and apply other status ailments to enemies. This will make it easier to defeat enemies or make it harder for them to fight back. It is worth noting that some enemies are immune to certain status ailments, if not all of them.
Dia and Recovery Skills
Dia is one of the most important recovery skills in the entire game. It is based on helping the character to recover HP. Dia is the most basic form of this but there are better ones like Diarahan and so on. Like with the attack elemental abilities, there are AOE versions, to.
Media is the basic healing skill that affects the whole party while Mediarama is a more powerful version. Besides the standard healing skills, there are other recovery ones, too. For instance, there are skills that will help deal with status ailments in battle.
Just like you can apply status ailments to the enemy, they can do the same to you. There are skills like Me Patra that will fix this problem. Some of these will target one ally while others will recover ailments for the whole party. There are also abilities that will restore your stats back to normal. This is useful for enemies that try to reduce your stats like you can do to them.
Finally, we have passive skills. These are ones that you do not need to activate to use as they are always available. This includes ones like Counter that let you counterattack when an enemy fights you. There are others that affect stats. They could add extra HP or help you to recover health after every battle.
Passive skills are a bit harder to find in the game but they are great for automatically helping you out in and out of battle.
How to Gain New Skills in Persona Games
Now you should know about all of the skills and what they do in the Persona games. With this knowledge in mind, it is now time to learn about gaining new skills. As you progress through the games, the lower tier skills like Agi are not going to cut it. You will need higher-tier ones like Agidyne and so on.
As for how you gain these new, more powerful skills, there are a few different ways. The simplest way is to have your Persona level up in battle. Each Persona has a designated list of skills that it learns naturally. This happens at certain levels but they only learn a few this way.
There is the possibility of a skill change, though. Randomly sometimes, a Persona will ask you to let it change its skill when it levels up. This will sometimes result in a brand new skill entirely or a more powerful version of an existing one. However, these are rare moments and unreliable.
So, if you find yourself with Personas that have learned all their possible skills, you have two options. The first is to fuse or collect a new Persona. The more powerful a new Persona is, the more likely it will have better skills. You can check some of those skills before you fuse. You also have the option to carry over some old ones from the Personas that you sacrifice.
The other way is through the skill cards.
Skill Cards Explained
Later games in the Persona series introduce skill cards. These are consumable items that teach your Persona a new skill in battle. They encompass most, if not all, of the major skills in the game. Some of them can be physical ones while others are elemental while still others are recovery.
You can gain skill cards through negotiations in games like Persona 5. You can unlock them through other means and sometimes find them as loot. They are not super common in most games but skill cards are valuable. They are a quick and easy way to teach a Persona something new, especially when it comes to the elusive passive skills.
Question: How many abilities can a Persona have?
Answer: In general and in most games, a Persona can have up to eight skills. Once they reach the eight mark, that is it for them. They can still technically learn new skills, though. This could be through skill cards or even leveling up. A Persona can start out with a lot of skills already, thanks to fusion.
If a Persona already has a total of eight skills, learning a new one will just give you the option to replace one. So, there is no problem at all for a Persona to learn a new skill. You just have to carefully pick which eight skills are most important to you.
Question: How do you teach a Persona skills?
Answer: Teaching a Persona new skills is done through a few different methods. The first is fusing a Persona and using the sacrificial ones to teach that new Persona their skills. The second is to just level up a Persona and have it learn new skills naturally.
The final one is through skill cards that let you instantly teach an ability.
Question: What is the strongest skill in Persona?
Answer: The strongest skill in the Persona games to me is going to depend on what you want to do. In the end, the strongest skill is likely Gigantomachia. It deals colossal physical damage to all enemies. This is essentially the most possible physical damage to everyone you’re fighting. Of course, if they are resistant or immune to physical attacks, it won’t be any help.
Question: What is Victory Cry in Persona 5?
Answer: Victory Cry is an ability that is a passive one. This means that it activates on its own without you needing to think about it. Victory Cry will fully restore (in most games) the user’s HP and SP after each battle. This is an excellent ability that ensures that you go into every battle at full strength.
While it sounds great, you can go the entire game without earning Victory Cry. In some games, like Persona 4, it is possible
to get it as a skill card. In other games, such as Persona 5, you can only get it through leveling up. Izanagi-no-Okami, its Picaro variant, and Satanael are the only options.
From there, though, you can gift that skill to another Persona by using one of those three as fusion material. This can effectively allow you to share the skill with any Persona you want but it will take a lot of fusion.
There are so many different skills that you can use in the Persona series. While it can be a challenge even for experienced players, the benefit is the turn-based nature of these games. You can absolutely take as much time as you need in most battles you do.
This allows you to check guides like this one to see what each Persona skill does. If you’re looking for more help in these games, we recommend our general Persona gameplay guide. In this guide, we go over all of the other aspects of turn-based battles that you should know about.
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