Part 18: Persona Strategies for Malebolge and Cocytus
Persona Notes: Malebolge and Cocytus
I really didn't use that many different Personas early on, so I'll combine the first two Doors together. I'll also talk about some Personas I don't use but that I could see using.
Door 1: Malebolge
Persona MVP: Orpheus- He's your starting Persona, and in his incarnation in The Answer he's actually got pretty decent stats and skills. His Fire attacks are very useful not only on the first Shadow boss but on some of the toughest trash in Malebolge, and he's got the Endurance to weather some hits out in the field.
Personas To Fuse: Nothing really, between Orpheus, Shuffle Time, and your party you should be fine through all of Malebolge.
Personas To Pick Up: You want to start getting a very diverse mix of Arcana mostly at this point. High Pixie is a good source of Bufula (and Media if you level it up), Hua Po a good source of Agi/Agilao, Empusa's Fortune Arcanum is nice, and Take-Minakata and Take-Mikazuchi are both good choices for Zio skills. Principality is also nice because it's pretty low-leveled and thus quick to bootstrap up to the level where it learns Media (which is its only real value honestly). A lot of people like Narcissus as a Wind Persona, I don't really ever use him because I've always got two Wind users in my party and I find his lowish Endurance a liability.
General Persona Strategy: Your party is guaranteed to have some kind of Wind attack (Yukari/Metis) and some kind of Lightning attack (Akihiko/Ken) so don't worry too much about getting Personas with those attacks at the moment. Orpheus covers Fire pretty well at the moment and we'll use him for that until a better choice arrives. Picking up a High Pixie gives you Bufula and Mabufu which pretty well covers any ice you'd need for trash. Otherwise just pick up as much chaff as possible to fuel your fusion later. I do the boss at 27 without any real hiccups.
Door 2: Cocytus
Persona MVP: Queen Mab- Queen Mab has a lot going for her. She gets Rakukaja/Rakunda, both of which are very useful. She resists a lot of elements which is nice. She's got a weakness to Slash, but luckily that's not a terribly common attack type early on.
Personas To Fuse: Queen Mab is the big one as far as my Fusion went. I got her Bufula and Media through Fusion, which makes her great on the Shadow boss. Here are some others to strongly consider:
Sati: Pros- Nulls Fire, Media, strong Fire attacks. Cons- Weak to Ice, which many things that are weak to Fire commonly use.
Lamia: Pros- Nulls Fire and Darkness, lots of resistances and has a solid set of skills. Cons- Weak to Strikes, possibly the most dangerous single attack type.
Sarasvati: Pros- A strong Ice Persona that can pick up some useful skills. Cons- Unlike most Priestesses, she doesn't naturally get any healing spells, which makes her kind of bleh.
Black Frost: Pros- Good elemental properties and a wide range of skills. Cons- None really, though I prefer not to use Personas with uncovered weaknesses to Light/Dark.
Personas To Pick Up: Again, just keep up a good mix of Arcana and interesting skills. Most of your roster will be chaff you'll never use for anything other than Fusion for quite a lot of the game. If you see her in Shuffle Time Leanan Sidhe is a great component, as is Mothman. One thing you do need to do is start working now on Personas that will eventually let you Fuse Rangda (Level 40, Magician) because she'll be a key player in the next Door.
General Persona Strategy: Now that I've switched to Yukari/Junpei/Metis I've actually got Wind, Fire, and Ice in my Party. You'd think this would mean I'd work hard on getting a Lightning Persona but actually I pretty much forsake Lightning for much of the game because I find a lot of Lightning based Personas aren't as defensively oriented as I'd like. I spend most of Cocytus in Queen Mab or Lamia. To level up for the Shadow Boss in Cocytus I first ran the last floors of Malebolge again. I'd suggest when pushing through Cocytus killing everything reasonable the first run and seeing how your SP looks when you hit the boss. Skipping Shadows is a great way to get to bosses way underleveled and have a really hard time. I ended up at 35 before the boss in Cocytus without much effort on my part and it made it pretty easy.
EDIT: We can have whatever the max number of Personas you could have in P3 right from the start, so 10 or 12.