The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

by Dragonatrix

Part 20: New Game+ ~ The Demi-Fiend

So, New Game+! ...Kinda underwhelming, honestly. Like normal, you don't get to mess with Mantras, skill sets or what have you until we start Svadhisthana. Also notable is that your Macca is always 2000 at the start. Cash does not carry over.

Nor do key items, which doesn't really matter. All this means is you can't use the Blue/Yellow/Red Keys from the start. All the Mantra items don't actually NEED to be here to give us access to those skills.

Expendable items are also reset to a bunch of Rations. No Noise storing and devouring to Get Swole from the start.

also bullets are reset too but this does not matter one bit

Once we DO get our Mantras back, they don't reset thankfully. Whatever Mantra we were learning before is still being learned now.

All skills transfer over as well, so if you're ever playing in NG+ you have no excuse to not steamroll everything with minimal effort.

Even moreso than normal, I mean.

We also get a new skill that is only available here. It has very niche uses, but if you want to hunt Omoikanes it's very handy. Also makes it easier to laugh at things that cast Expel spells and nothing else.

Y'know, if you don't already have Null/Repel Expel passives learned I mean.

Important stuff now! First, before we head to Manipura, Gale comes up with the plan to tag team the Solids and betray the Maribel. We pick the top option this time.

Dialogue doesn't change enough to care but we get something out of it, and I like getting things.

Skipping WAY ahead to Citadel 136 next. During the portrait "maze," we fell down a bunch of holes to grab items. There's also these Skeletons in jail cells we can look at.


There are a lot of Skeletons and they all act like Brook. It's kinda cool.

At the top of the Citadel, we get a little prompt before fighting Heat. Again, choosing the top option.

This makes it less of a fight, and more of a cutscene.

Yes, even more than before. This time, Serph does NOTHING. We just get slapped by Heat a bunch and then carry on.

We carry on all the way to after Ravana, in fact. Before we went through the Karma Temple last time, I pointed out this guy to the side. Talking to him now.

Ever since I received the Atma, I can hear, or... feel... it.

I hate to ask you this, but... Can you do me a favor?

Thank you. Just tell her...

Once again, this will be important later. For now, it doesn't mean much of anything.

So, SKILLS. Lots and lots of skills. Here's a quick rundown of almost every skill we haven't seen yet in no particular order!

Megidola and Mind Charge are all very ho-hum. Mid-tier Almighty MT attack (notably you don't need to beat any optional bosses to get this one...) and spell equivalent to boss fight darling Power Charge. Magic Repel is kind of nice in that its the core part of a completely stupid glitch that idiots GameFAQs posters will tell you is broken and makes the game easy. They don't know what they're talking about, of course.

See, it will prevent the added effects on most attacks from going off. So, Death Flies won't kill you. Revelation won't mute you. Gate of Hell won't petrify you etc. etc. BUT it doesn't repel the attack so the barrier is still there and will apply for the entire turn. Sounds handy, right? Wrong. It doesn't do shit to the actual attack itself. You still eat full damage. Nothing happens to the press turns. Comparatively, you can just Void Death for the Death Flies issue. Void/Null/Repel Death will shut down Gate of Hell. Void/Repel/Drain Phys will shut down Revelation etc. etc. You're actively doing something LESS efficient on purpose. With no actual benefit to doing so.

mana gain increases max mp. pass.
samarecarm is the revival orb/a revival gem but with an mp cost. pass.

Mana Walk is the best of a bad lot. Every ~15 steps or so, whoever its on regains a decent chunk of MP. If they're in the active party. It's really good and useful on a first cycle for obvious reasons, and it's not even tied to the solar noise gauge unlike Chakra Walk.

Whenever someone learns all 5 Ma-Dynes, they get this new Mantra added. Monotheist is some of the most broken shit imaginable.

It costs 2 million and teaches Null Attack. It could cost 99 million and still be worth it. Null Attack is fucking bonkers.

As soon as you learn it, you're functionally invincible. Almighty attacks still hit, but they're mostly the realm of bosses and not really going to hit hard anyway. There's a way around that little detail too though.

This isn't it. But it is a top-tier Hunt Mantra called Wikipedia. And I have no clue why. It's just one of those weird quirks I guess.

Diarahan and Petradi are very what you expect. Last Meal is instant death hunt skill that targets every enemy. Decent chance on non-scared things, but guaranteed against scared ones so whatever. Bloodbath hits a lot for okay damage. Devour Mana gives a lot of MP back (around 15-20%) on a successful hunt. Good on a first cylce, but gonna be super outdated very soon now. Gate of Hell we've seen many times. Phys Drain is the active barrier spell. I don't understand why Atlus calls Drain better than Repel in every single game ever when that's provably untrue. High Counter is a counter skill. Pass. Allure inflicts Charm on everything. Not as good as it sounds. Mediarahan is full HP restore to entire party. Also not as good as it sounds. Amazing, I know. Recarmdra is a combat-only skill that restores the HP and MP to two people max but kills the user. Normally I would say never, ever use this but there is one and exactly one situation where it has a use. I know, I'm shocked too.

...still dont use it mind

Null Phys is a passive and even if it wasn't already outclassed it wouldn't be worth the slot. Life Surge is more HP. Pass. Vanity inflicts random ailments and is almighty elemental. Does no damage. Celestial Ray but worse is pretty hard to justify! Mana Surge is even more MP. Pass. Megidolaon is a decent chunk of Almighty damage to everything. Costs 60MP and has no added effects. That last past is most damning. Pass.

Null Element requires so much time and macca to get that it is not worth the trip. Requires finishing one Ma-Dyne, getting the mantra with Megidola and then you get it with Megidolaon. Already outclassed Null wise by Null Attack (which at least IS harder to get technically) and Repelement (which is NOT).

Important thing is that as soon as one person gets the Mantras with Megidolaon, Vanity and Null Phys this little beauty is added to everyone's grid. It costs a mere 1.2 million Macca to actually get and that is a fucking steal.

Cielo needs it for Null Ailment. Everyone needs it for Auto Soma. Restores ALL HP and MP at the end of a fight no questions asked. Victory Cry with any other name DOES smell as sweet.

Also Serph mastered Gyokuza at one point, because fuck it why not. He's now mastered every Mantra. One down.

...Anyone with prior knowledge of skills may have noticed a couple missing. That's because they're down here and are very nice and important.

Last Word is Mega tier Almighty damage. It's in the same Mantra as, uh, Megidola. It hits a single target though. We want this immediately.

Ragnarok hits every enemy for Mega tier Almighty elemental phys based damage. It also inflicts Rakunda as a bonus. It's in the same mantra as Null Phys (the passive). We want this immediately too.

Salvation fully heals everyone. All HP restored, all ailments cured (save for Death). Mediarahan+Amrita? We also want THIS immediately. Hell, this is the only one of these three I'd consider damn near mandatory. Unfortunately, it comes with Vanity. They can't all be winners!

Upon reaching the top floor of the Karma Terminal and getting the Super Rookies to appear, we can also find something... else at Anahata.

Down in the basement, just north of the ladder towards the first large Terminal in fact.

We came here for a Reason...

And we've finally found one.

Optional Bo- wait what??

...Before we can even move, our strange tattooed friend hits us with the most damaging attack in the game.

And in this case it deals a fixed 9999 damage. If you somehow do survive this via Close Call or what have you, he spams it every turn until you die.

And there is nothing we can do about it.

...Well, except for one thing.

There are MANY skills you cannot have for this fight. Any Null passives, any barriers whether they be voids, repels or drains... hell even Mirrors are even anathema here. Being immune to any attacks, ailments or becoming so midway through immediately triggers a Gaea Rage for 9,999. Even ones that don't get used in the fight.

Thankfully, there are two exceptions. Null Critical and Null Sleep are okay to use because they aren't actually nulls; just really badly named bonuses. Null Critical just reduces crit chance. Null Sleep grants perpetual dodging. Not actual immunity.

So, we switch skills around until we're allowed to actually play the game.

Ultimate Boss: Demi-Fiend (Uncut (45mins))

Normal Battle
(this is really what plays and it is awesome - clickitalready)

So, when you actaully get to play the fight... you might not get to play the fight still. The Demi-Fiend and his allies all move first. Demi gets two press turns, everyone else gets one. Demi himself only has a whole four attacks. Five if you count Gaea Rage, which is special and never used on a whim.

Heat Wave is probably the named one you want the most.

It just hits everyone for middling Phys damage. On the downside, it has an insanely high crit chance. Probably the highest, even.

Girimehkala goes next, and its opening move is always Mamudoon. It only has four skills, even, and Mamudoon is the only thing it can do to attack.

If this kills anyone at the start, just reset already. The fight is long enough without making it more luck based. If it kills two people, ever, reset. If you're ever down to just one, reset then too. You'll get stuck in a loop that you only get out of by game overing otherwise. Or, uh, Recarmdraing but why are you using that? Stop it.

Cu Chulainn picks an attack at semi-random for his first turn. Executioner, Skull Cleave, Sakura Rage and Demon Rage are what he has at his disposal. Possibly even more that I'm forgetting.

So, lots of hard hitting attacks with high chance to get multiple. Mediarahan sounds good then, right? Well, no.

Demi's other two attacks are much nastier than Heat Wave. Xeros-Beat feels like it has a lower crit chance than Heat Wave, but...

The base damage between the two is equal (this is with Phys Resist; the first was not), but it has a high chance to inflict Stun. It still has a very high crit chance too.

And then there's Javelin Rain. The third, and most used, attack in Demi's arsenal.

Much like Xeros-Beat, it has a very high crit chance but lower than Heat Wave. It also has a high chance to inflict Mute. You want to cure Mute immediately, because you NEED to be able to keep healing.

So, Salvation it is for healing then. High ailment chance from devastating attacks and all.

...Thankfully he doesn't have Freikugel here otherwise we'd be all kinds of legitimately fucked.

And, of course, for times when everyone gets Muted you'll need Dis-Mutes. 99 is overkill, but having at least 20 is good for how often it can happen.

Cu Chulainn spends every turn at this point Taunting. He'll stop if you get to -4 Def but if that happens you're fucked anyway.

Girimehkala and Cu Chulainn also have access to both Dekaja and Dekunda. The demon AI prioritises one over the other, though, and they will immediately drop everything to do it. You want this a lot, actually.

For what it's worth, Girimehkala prioritises Dekaja and Cu Chulainn prioritises Dekunda but they can both do either.

And, of course, you'll want a Dekunda of your own to help alleviate the Taunts.

...Demi's last attack is a regular ol' punch. As nice as it would be to see a lot, it's not going to happen.

Mostly just keep on the defensive for now, and throw in Ragnaroks or Celestial Rays or Fires of Sinai where possible to whittle down his demons health. Cu Chulainn has about 3,000 and Girimehkala 3,500.

The Demi-Fiend has 6 demons at his disposal. Whenever one drops, he immediately subs in a new one in a fixed order.

His first replacment is a Pixie. Never kill the Pixie!

...Not because of this, though. When she's first summoned, she always opens with Dormina. This is because at every third demon, something special happens. This does include the initial Girimehkala and Cu Chulainn.

Dormina hitting Cielo is good and helpful, but ideally it would hit someone else as well. If it misses everyone, the game is telling you that you lose and don't get to play any more.

Despite what you might think, Cielo isn't mandatory here or anything but he makes it slightly easier. Gale does too because he dumpstats Luck but there's a couple reason to not use Gale here.

Every third demon, Demi uses Gaea Rage. You want Cielo hit by Dormina to prevent it getting a chance to wear off, you see.

This Gaea Rage does not deal a fixed 9,999. It does, however, deal about 3,000 minimum. Plus side, it can be dodged... but only if you're asleep. Argilla's clutch survival there is a godsend and made it possible to revive and heal easily but its still a pain.

Anyway, when she's not Dorminaing you, Pixie can throw out Vanities. Not really an issue on its own but it has its problems.

More annoyingly, she can Maziodyne frequently. Between this, the high frequency of crits and ailments being flung at you, Gale is more of a liability than he seems.

But now that the Pixie's out and we've survived the Gaea Rage, victory is assured. We just need to spend some time going through the motions to make it happen.

Debilitate isn't necessary here but it helps. We do want (not need, but want) a Kunda spell of some kind though.

Same with a Kaja. Sukukaja or Rakukaja are the best options but I prefer Suku in general.

Speaking of, I went with that for my normal Kunda as well. Tarunda would work out fine too.

Much like Cu Chulainn, Pixie's priority is Dekunda. And this is where the current demon setup poses a problem. In the not-too-unlikely event of a double crit, we're eating a Taunt right now. That makes things harder than it should. Likewise, if we had Girimehkala instead, it'd be a Mamudoon and that's just rolling dice until it decides someone dies.

So, we say fuck that and kill Cu Chulainn. Ideally, he'd die at the same time as Girimehkala to remove this pesky added step from the equation.

And he gets replaced by Demon #4, Arahabaki. Arahabaki is notable here for being a demon with a weakness we can still exploit. Girimehkalas weakness to Expel is removed because it's a boss fight. All other resistances are still in play. This means Arahabaki is weak to Ice. Not useful but its there.

It is still just an Arahabaki, though. Difference being it has no Mediarahan-on-call access this time.

It does have Blood Curse but ahahahaha who cares thanks for wasting your turn buddy

Now that we've got it setup right, Pixie trades all of her offensive spells out for Megidolaon and nothing else. I'm sure she can totally still use her other attacks, but once Arahabaki comes out I've never seen her use anything but Dekunda/kaja and Megidolaon.

We want this.

Sure it hits kinda hard and we're burning through MP now just throwing out a buff and a debuff every single turn along with the occasional Salvation but we're not the only ones. Somas are actually worth considering using here.

But if it's just MP, then Great Chakras are handy as well. Only time I've ever used them, in fact.

...Pixie has about 1800MP if not more. She also has the lowest out of every demon Demi-Fiend has on call. Because of her AI's preferences, she will burn through it pretty quick. She's not the most spellcastery demon but she's the best option.

Once she can't Megidolaon, you only need to debuff 5 more times at most to win. This is the longest part of the fight and if you fuck up here, it's basically your own fault anyway. Getting critted more often gets through it faster which sounds hella backwards I know.

Eventually, she will run to sub-10 MP and cannot Dekunda any more. Pixie will try to Dekunda every turn without exception and be unable to do so.

At this point, the only way we can lose is if we forget to throw out a Kaja. This is because Arahabaki prioritises Dekaja over Dekunda. It will detect both a buff and debuff and get rid of the buff. Cu Chulainn, on the other hand, would get rid of the debuffs.

Now we begin to actually attack Demi himself. Problem there is we can only damage him with either Earth spells or Almighty attacks. Earth is out because making it worth a shit requires both the boost and amp as well. Pass.

That leaves Almighty and there are plenty of options there, right? Well, no. Pixie has a pitiful 1200HP and will die if we look at her funny. That removes all multi-target or random target options. Last Word is all that remains, being the only single target Almighty attack.

It deals about 450 damage per attack. At -4 Defense. In a fair fight, Demi-Fiend has 27,000HP. Thankfully, you should never give him a fair fight.

Once he loses 9000HP, whichever demon gets first action will cast Mediarahan. This should always be Pixie, and... whoops she's out of MP.

In reality, the Demi-Fiend only has 18,000HP. More than Hari-Hara, true, but less than Huang Long. Still a long, long fight though.

At critical, Demi gets down on knee and is noticably injured. Y'know just like his critical health animation in Nocturne.

We've already won, so it's just a matter of time and blasting away with Last Word to put a lid on this matter once and for all.

For reference, his other two demons are a Titania and Parvati. Titania will fuck you up if given a chance with Ma-Dynes of all the nasty colours of the deathbow, and Dormina on call and Vanities and its not really fun. I don't actually know what Parvati can do because I've never let her come out and lived to see what comes next. If she does, you're getting Gaea Raged again and fucked up somewhere. After that, it cycles back to Girimehkala and starts fresh.

Another thing that should never come up is that every demon has an internal counter that ticks up by 1 for every action they take. If this counter hits 30, they will Recarmdra killing themself and restoring everything else. Thankfully this counter does not increase on Dekajas or Dekundas since they're functionally hard counters. I alluded to it earlier, but it's such a niche thing that you should never worry about it. Like with Parvati, if it happens you've fucked up and are going to lose anyway. Also like with Parvati, I've never seen it happen when I'm playing.

You can beat the Demi-Fiend et al by playing fair and not running Pixie out of MP. It just takes far, far longer and has a significantly stricter margin for error. By which I mean basically none.

...Man, Naoki actually gives super crap rewards. Middling AP (all those mantras were freshly bought), a single Soma, 100k Karma and less Macca than we can get in a fraction of the time. Kinda appropriate, honestly.


Fight done with, we just pick ourselves up from the floor and...

Was the whole thing a hallucination? Really?

Probably not; we got an item, ate something and ended up with more money and Karma than before.

> A message is written on the floor.

All bends to my will.

And with that, we're officially done with all that DDS1 has to offer. So we can finally move onto Nocturne DDS2 several months later than intended, but no matter. Let's finally start getting some of those answers we've been waiting for!