I wrote an article about an old guide I put together for a friend for navigating The Answer epilogue to Persona 3 FES. While writing that guide, I included a note about a very strong optional Persona 3 enemy called the Reaper. That note reminded me that I employed what I think may be an unusual, if not unique, strategy for defeating the reaper in the main part (non-epilogue) of Persona 3 FES. The most popular method for beating the Reaper in Persona 3 FES is built on the use of a powerful attack called Thunder Reign. Because I did not have access to Thunder Reign in my first attempt, I developed an alternative strategy based on a special move called Infinity. While I only did this twice and the last time I fought the reaper was about 10 years ago, I remember my strategy well enough to share it in enough detail to be helpful to anyone who wants to pick an unnecessary Persona 3 FES fight.

Front of the PlayStation 2 box for Persona 3 FES. Photograph by Victor V. Gurbo.
Box for Persona 3 FES. Photographed by Victor V. Gurbo.

Before continuing, please note that this guide is for the original Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES and not to the subsequent releases: Persona 3 Portable and the new Persona 3 Reload remake. However, The strategy should work similarly in Persona 3 Portable and Persona 3 Reload because it does not rely on any mechanics that are specific to Persona 3 FES. This distinguishes it from the more popular Thunder Reign strategy, which takes advantage of Persona 3 FES’s unique knockdown mechanics. Nevertheless, I submit for the record that I only actually applied and tested the infinity strategy in FES.

Persona 3 VersionOr. ConsoleRelease
Persona 3PS22006 (JP); 2007 (NA)
Persona 3 FESPS22007 (JP); 2008 (NA)
Persona 3 PortablePSP2009 (JP); 2010 (NA)
Persona 3 ReloadMany2024 (WW)

For those who want to try the Infinity strategy in Persona 3 FES, note that I used it on both Normal difficulty and Hard difficulty with the same results in both cases. Because I used it to defeat the Reaper on Hard, which is the highest difficulty level in Persona 3 FES, you can rest assured that it is battle-tested. I never played Persona 3 FES on easy and it is possible that one safeguard that I had to use on Normal and Hard may not be necessary at the same level on Easy, but the strategy should otherwise work similarly. However, as I will note again later in this article, Persona 3 Portable and Reload introduce new mechanics that expand the options that players will have to fight the Reaper with beyond what is viable in the first two Persona 3 versions.

(This article may be a fun history piece for people who have only played Portable or Reload and are not familiar with the original two versions of Persona 3.)

Finally, note that unlike my guide to The Answer, this article has no story spoilers whatsoever other than my discussing The Reaper, an enemy who can be fought with no prospect of success very early in the game, and naming some characters in the player’s party.

Persona 3 FES Mechanics

Before explaining the reaper strategy, we must introduce the mechanics of Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES battles. Feel free to skip ahead if you are already familiar with the first two Persona 3 releases. If you are only familiar with Persona 3 Portable or the new Persona 3 Reload remake, this section will explain how the first two Persona 3 versions differ from the latter two and, by extension, all versions of Persona 4 and Persona 5.

(Do you start to get the feeling that Atlus is money-grabbing with all these versions of the same game?)

The player controls one character. The player character can have up to three other characters in his party. While one can bring fewer than three additional characters, my guide assumes full four-member parties.

Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES are turn-based. Each member of the player’s party gets a move and each member of the enemy party gets a move. For the Reaper battle that this guide is about, the only enemy on the field is the Reaper, so the battle cycles through the player’s party’s and the Reaper’s moves until the player character is knocked out or the Reaper is knocked out.

Every character – both on the player’s side and on the enemy side – has stats.

HP (Hit Points)HP is also used for physical attacks from a persona
SP (Spirit Points)These are used for casting spells
StrengthPhysical attacking strength
MagicMagic attacking strength, magic resistance, and healing spell strength
EndurancePhysical attack resistance
AgilityAffects turn order and evasiveness
LuckVarious effects

The name of the series – Persona – relates to how the player character is unique. On the player’s side, all characters’ stats other than HP are determined by their Persona, as are their strengths, resistances, and extra skills. All of the player’s party members are locked to a single persona. However, the player character alone can carry multiple personas and swap between them in battle. This characteristic always distinguishes the protagonist from his (or her, in a couple of games) allies. Acquiring strong personas for the player character is a major part of persona’s strategy (and it will be central to my anti-Reaper strategy) and it also ties into the unique social link (now “confidant”) system in the modern Persona games.

One thing that distinguishes Persona 3 FES and the original Persona 3 from the later Persona 3 versions and Persona 4 and 5 is that the player only directly controls the player character. The three party members are controlled by the AI. However, the player can exercise some control over the behavior of the party members by choosing from a menu of directives for each. While not being able to directly control the three party members is a handicap, one learns over the course of a long play-through how to use the directives to ensure that their behavior is consistent with the player’s strategy. IThe AI is not very bright when left to its own devices, so a good player will find him or herself always using directives to constrain the behavior of allies in battle.

Characters in Persona 3 can use their moves while attacking, casting a non-attack spell (e.g., buff, de-buff, healing, etc.), or using an item. With respect to attacking, Persona 3 FES has many attacking types:

  • Physical Attacks: Pierce; Slash; Strike
  • Elemental Magic: Electricity (Zio); Fire (Agi); Ice (Bufu); Wind (Garu)
  • Insta-kills: Dark (Mudo); Light (Hama)
  • Almighty

Persona 3, unlike 4 and 5, splits physical attacks into three types. Characters can be strong (including nullifying) or weak against different attacking types except for Almighty, which bypasses all strengths and resistances.

Now we reach a crucial difference between Persona 3 FES and its successors: How being hit for a weakness is handled. In all of the Persona 3 versions and in 4 and 5, characters can be knocked down. There are three general ways of scoring knock downs:

  1. Being hit for a weakness by a magic attack;
  2. Critical hit physical attack; or
  3. Being hit by a physical attack while under the shock status effect.

All of these cause extra damage as well as knocking the target down. If the player knocks all enemy units down at once and has more than one additional party member, the player can trigger an “All Out Attack” which does significant damage.

In the first two Persona 3 entries – the original and FES – a target that is down when its move starts actually spends the entire move getting up – thus depriving the target of the opportunity to use the move for any other purpose. From Persona 4 on, including the third and fourth versions of Persona 3, a downed unit gets up and can move normally. Persona 3 FES’s knockdown mechanic allows the player to employ some strategies that are not available in later Persona games. For example, if the player can ensure that the target is always down when its move comes up, the player can effectively create a cycle where the target can never attack. One caveat is that attacking a downed target causes the downed target to get up – which enables it to actually use its move instead of wasting its move recovering.

(See an interesting Game FAQ forum debate on which Persona knockdown system is better.)

The last point we need to clarify before discussing The Reaper is turn order. Provided the player is not attacked from behind at the start of combat and engages the enemy neutrally with a full party, the player character will always move first. After that, turn order is determined by the Agility stat without regard to which side the next fastest units are on.

About The Reaper

Persona 3 has a giant monolithic dungeon called Tartarus. By the end of the main game, the player must reach the roof of Tartarus. However, Persona 3 FES is a70-80 hour affair. Progress through Tartarus is slow and there is always a limit on how far the player is allowed to advance at any given point.

As the player and party advance through Tartarus and clear special bosses on the Full Moon of each month, their levels grow. The highest level a character can reach is 99. However, the final boss of Persona 3 FES can be beaten in the high 60s (with good skill and strategy), but in most normal cases can be beaten in the mid-to-high 70s (76 is a decent “safe” target since all of the player’s party members learn their final skills at that level). While it is not difficult to grind one’s way all the way to level 99, there is no need to do so to beat Persona 3.

(Note: Do note I have not played Persona 3 FES in a while. If any details describing the Reaper are off, feel free to let me know.)

The Reaper is a special enemy unit that the player does not need to fight to beat the game. The Reaper can be encountered at any point in Tartarus in Persona 3. There are three main ways to encounter The Reaper:

  1. Stay on the same floor for about 10 minutes – which takes genuine effort to do because the floors are not very big.
  2. There is a random chance on any given floor that the player will be warned by the navigator that there is something off. In these cases, The Reaper begins to appear at about 3 minutes instead of 10.
  3. The player draws a cursed card in a post-battle event which hastens the arrival of The Reaper.

I believe I first encountered The Reaper when I was at about level 20 when its arrival was triggered by point 2 or 3, above. Let us check out The Reaper’s stats:

(P3 FES)

The stats do not tell the whole story here. In addition to nullifying insta-kill spells (every boss-type character nulls insta-kills), The Reaper resists all physical and magic attacking types, meaning it takes only half damage – which goes a long way toward increasing its defenses (note: this appears to have changed in Persona 3 Reload). The Reaper can use every physical and magic attacking type and, in the case of magic spells, it has a full slate of single- and multi-target attacks. The Reaper has both types of insta-kill spells (single- and multi-target), break spells to nullify resistances to magic attacks, and Spirit Drain, which takes away 80 SP and can force the player to spend moves using items to restore it.

In addition to the above, Reaper also packs second and third level multi-target almighty attacks which ignore all weaknesses and resistances and do heavy damage.

Reaper can also move twice in a single turn. Why not?

Reaper has more than enough strength on both the magic and physical sides to one-shot every member of the player’s party, including the player character himself, for most of Persona 3 FES. That is, until very specific conditions are met, there is absolutely no prospect of success, or even a long fight, against the Reaper. When the navigator advises the player to “RUN” – the reasoning is usually sound.

Recall that I said that it is possible to beat the final story boss of Persona 3 in the high 60s (but more typically in the mid-70s). The Reaper is particularly irritating because even at those levels, fighting it requires gimmicks due to its strength and sheer range of attacking types. I am actually not sure what level, short of the maximum 99, the player (and party) would need to be at to fight the Reaper without any gimmicks – but my strategy requires the player to be at level 78 at a minimum for reasons I will explain. The more common strategy can be accomplished at a lower level.

The Common Anti-Reaper Strategy: Thunder Reign

The most common strategy that I have come across for beating Reaper in Persona 3 FES is centered on a move called Thunder Reign. Thunder Reign is the most powerful single-target electric attack in Persona 3. But its utility against Reaper is not its power but instead its secondary effect. Thunder Reign afflicts shock status every time it lands. As I noted above, if a shocked enemy is hit with a physical attack, it is knocked down. Now recall that I explained that in the Persona 3 FES and its predecessor, if a unit is down when its move comes, it “wastes” its turn getting up instead of attacking.

You can see where this is going.

The idea is for the player character, who moves first, to hit Reaper with Thunder Reign. In order for the strategy to work, at least one of the player’s allies must move second to knock the Reaper down (preferably two or three team members). If the strategy works correctly, one can get through the entire battle by slowly chipping away at Reaper’s health without letting it attack. There is always the chance that Thunder Reign or an attack will miss, so I have seen some guides advise bringing Akihiko and/or Aigis for buffs and de-buffs. I never used the Thunder Reign strategy myself, so I will refer readers to guides from people who have:

(Note: Thunder Reign can also form the basis of a Reaper strategy in Persona 3 Portable and, I assume, Persona 3 Reload, but it works a little bit differently on account of the modified knockdown mechanics. You can see a brief discussion of how it would work here).

You may be wondering why I did not use the Thunder Reign strategy. Was I just being contrarian? Not quite…

When I first played Persona 3 FES, I was playing through the game normally without relying on guides. I did not specifically plan to beat the Reaper nor did I know what it would entail for most of my play-through. In order to acquire the skill Thunder Reign, the player needs to fuse a persona called Odin (this requires the player character to be at level 63). However, in order to be able to fuse Odin like a true Norseman, the player needs to have maxed the Chariot Social Link in Persona 3’s social half. By the time I decided to take on the Reaper, it was already too late for me to max the Chariot social link. Thus, on my first Persona 3 FES run, it was impossible for me to acquire Thunder Reign at the point I was interested in taking on the Reaper challenge.

Finding a New Strategy

The only other strategy I came across for beating the Reaper involved the use of a “Fusion Spell” called Armageddon. Persona 3 FES has a small number of fusion spells that the player character alone can trigger if he happens to have the right combination of personas in his party. Armageddon does 9999 damage at the cost of all of the player’s SP. That would one-hit KO the Reaper. The problem with Armageddon in Persona 3 FES is that it requires the player character to have the charming duo of two personas: Helel and Satan. Helel requires the player to be at level 88. While it is not difficult to get to level 88, that is well above the level that the player needs in order to actually beat the final boss and complete the game. I wanted a more level-appropriate strategy that would also be a strategy and not over-leveling to make the Reaper a joke.

My Infinity Strategy

While I was not inclined to level my way all the way up to 88 to acquire Armageddon, I studied the potential fusion spells when I was looking for an anti-Reaper plan and came up with a promising original idea: Infinity.

Infinity is a spell. It grants the player character and his entire party absolute invulnerability for one turn. The spell is very expensive – it costs 30% of the player character’s maximum SP every use, but making the player and entire party invulnerable for an entire turn is very powerful. Like Armageddon, Infnity requires two Personas. The player needs Vishnu and Ananta. Ananta is only a medium-level Persona (41). Vishnu becomes available at level 78. 78 is a bit higher than one needs to be to beat the final boss, but 78 is also a perfectly fair finishing level that the player character can reach without gratuitous grinding. It is also much less unappealing than getting all the way to 88 necessary to acquire Armageddon.

I had a theory for how my strategy would work, but I would not be sure until I actually tried it. Technically all that is needed is Vishnu and Ananta. However, my strategy does involve the player character needing to actually be able to take some hits. Since Vishnu is much more powerful than Ananta, it makes sense for Vishnu to be the active persona (both need to be in the party and one needs to be equipped in order to use Infinity). Vishnu has a single elemental weakness to Wind attacks. I equipped a skill to Vishnu that negated its wind weakness and I recommend following my lead if you try the same strategy.

It technically does not matter which three characters the player brings as party members since, as you will see, my entire strategy centers on making sure the player’s allies never get hit by the Reaper. With that being said, it is important for the player to bring one character with a maximum healing spell. I personally recommend Yukari as the healer and two from the trio of Junpei, Akihiko, and Aigis for the other spots. Yukari is preferred because she has single and multi-target healing spells (remember your party members use HP for persona-based physical attacks) and also the best magic stat to use them.

From the start of the battle, my strategy differs significantly from the Thunder Reign strategy. For the Thunder Reign method to work, at least one, and preferably all three, of the player’s party members must move between the Reaper and the player. If the Reaper moves right after the player, the shock from Thunder Reign goes away on the Reaper’s move without the player’s party having a chance to take advantage of the shock to knock the Reaper down.

Unlike the Thunder Reign strategy, my strategy requires the Reaper to move second, right after the player. This is easy enough to ensure – so long as the Player meets the Reaper on even footing (head on, not attacked from behind, backed by afull party), the Reaper’s 99 Agility stat should ensure it moves second. I will demonstrate the flow of the battle to show you why this turn order is necessary.

  1. The player casts Infinity on turn one. This makes the player and the entire party invulnerable for one turn.
  2. The Reaper moves. But no matter what the Reaper does, it cannot damage the player’s party.
  3. Player ally 1 moves.
  4. Player ally 2 moves.
  5. Player ally 3 moves.

What do I do on turn two? You may think that I am casting Infinity again. However, this is not the case.

Infinity’s description says it lasts for one turn. But that description is ambiguous. Based on its plain language, one may think that Infinity for Allies 1, 2, and 3 wore off after they made their moves. After all, they each took a “turn.” However, contrary to a plausible plain language reading, this is not the case. I demonstrate how it works below (“A” stands for “Ally”).

  1. Move 1: Player uses infinity and Player, Ally 1, Ally 2, and Ally 3 are protected.
  2. Move 2: Reaper moves; P, A1, A2, and A3 are protected by Infinity.
  3. Move 3: A1 moves; P, A1, A2, and A3 are protected by Infinity.
  4. Move 4: A2 moves; P, A1, A2, and A3 are protected by Infinity.
  5. Move 5: A3 moves; P, A1, A2, and A3 are protected by Infinity.
  6. Move 6: P moves and does not use Infinity; A1, A2, and A3 are protected by infinity but P is no longer protected by Infinity.

I recall having suspected that this was the case but not actually having confirmed it before my first Reaper fight. The key here is what Persona 3 means by turns. A “turn” in this case is not when a character moves, but the full round of moves. So the first five moves – Player, Reaper, and the three allies – are a turn. Everyone is guaranteed to be covered by Infinity for at least one move after it is cast. Infinity wears off the next time a character moves. For the player character, Infinity wears off on his second move and the first move after casting it, which means that player character is open to being attacked if he does not cast Infinity on his second move. However, when Reaper moves for the second time, the player’s three allies are still under Infinity’s protection because their moves have not yet come up.

Now you see why Reaper must move second – the Reaper’s apparent advantage, moving earlier, actually grants the player’s three allies a second turn of invulnerability for the price of one Infinity cast.

Now readers may wonder why I do not just cast Infinity anyway. In theory, if I spam Infinity every single turn, no one can ever get hit. This, however, is not the case.

Infinity is very expensive. As I noted, it costs 30% of the player character’s maximum SP every cast – regardless of what the player’s maximum SP is (that is, leveling up does not change the math). This means that no matter what, the player must always use an item (Precious Egg in this case) to restore all of the player character’s SP every fourth turn. Moreover, I am almost certain (without being able to double-check at the moment) that casting Infinity on someone who is already protected by Infinity does not extend Infinity. Thus, there are two problems with spamming Infinity every turn instead of once every other turn:

  1. You may burn through all of your maximum SP restore items.
  2. It will end up leaving everyone vulnerable just to ensure that the player is always invincible.

I decided to use Infinity every other turn and accept the fact that Player could be hit on the non-Infinity turns. Thus, we see the following pattern – just looking at my own character’s moves:

  1. Infinity
  2. Regular move
  3. Infinity
  4. Regular move
  5. Infinity
  6. Use Precious Egg to restore SP
  7. Infinity
  8. …So on and so forth.

Provided that the player’s Vishnu covers its Wind weakness and the player has Hommunsculi to guard against potential darkness insta-kill attacks from the Reaper, this should not be a problem for most of the battle. The player should have more than enough HP at level 78 with Vishnu that none of the Reaper’s attacks are 1-hit KOs. The only danger, provided the wind weakness is covered, is that the Reaper could score a low percentage critical hit off a physical attack – but that never happened to me in my three attempts. Another potential annoyance is the Reaper using Spirit Drain, which drains SP and could accelerate the SP restoration schedule, but neither of those issues disturbed my three efforts against the Reaper using this method. Moreover, I will add that the Reaper is not necessarily smart. It will waste many of its turns targeting allies who are still covered by Infinity.

My strategy sounds relatively foolproof so far. And I thought this was the case in my first fight against the Reaper as I got its health all the way down to 25-30% without my player character ever having been in serious danger and with the three party members having been fully protected for the entire battle. However, up until that point, the Reaper had only been using its elemental attacks, physical attacks, insta-kills, and status attacks. I thought I was about to cruise to the win when suddenly, out of the blue, it used Megidolaon on one of my off-turns when I was not under Infinity’s protection.

Megidolaon is an Almighty attack, meaning nothing resists it. It does “severe” damage – effectively level 4 – whereas all of the Reaper’s other elemental and physical attacks do “heavy” damage (think level 3). While I had not been in danger before that, I had taken enough damage when the Reaper noticed me on off turns that I had a bad feeling as I watched Megidolaon’s animation.

My allies were safe behind Infinity.

I, however, was not so lucky. The Reaper’s Megidolaon was a clean 1-hit KO.

With that, all my work was gone. The Reaper erased my hard efforts with a single Megidolaon.

(Note: In modern Persona games, allies can sometimes protect the player character from what would otherwise be a sure death. However, no allies will save you in Persona 3 FES.)

I had three options:

  1. Give up
  2. See if I had any items or open time slots to boost Vishnu’s magic stat and/or level up to increase my HP in the hopes of having enough to survive Megidolaon
  3. Equip Spirit Bracers, an item that would allow me to survive a single would-be death at 1 HP

I opted for option three. I did not actually know what combination of HP and/or magic I would have needed to live. However, I had a feeling – a sneaking suspicion let us say – that Reaper’s Megidolaon was triggered by its reaching a certain health condition (perhaps also my cheap Infinity strategy) and that it would only be triggered once. This was a bit of a gamble – but assuming I was correct that Reaper would only use Megidolaon once, ensuring that I could survive it one time would all but ensure that I win the battle.

I repeated my strategy. Sure enough, once the Reaper was down to somewhere in the range of 1/3 to 1/4 of its health, it used Megidolaon again when I was not protected by Infinity. Because I had Spirit Bracers equipped, I survived Megidolaon with 1 HP. After that, I resumed with my strategy and, sure enough, the Reaper did not use Megidolaon a second time and I won the battle without my allies taking a single point of damage.

Years later, I played through Persona 3 FES with my friend and New Leaf Journal writer, Victor V. Gurbo (the protagonist in that case was named NIXON per Victor’s naming conventions). In that run, we actually beat the final boss in the neighborhood of level 73-75 without fighting the Reaper. Moreover, similarly to my run, we did not max the Chariot social link. After we beat the game, we still had a pre-completion save file so I decided to restore that save and try my Infinity strategy again for the first time in about 5 years. In this case, I got to exactly level 78 so I could fuse Vishnu and equipped Spirit Bracers from the start to protect against a potential Megidolaon. Sure enough, the Reaper used Megidolaon under the same two conditions that I observed in my first two attempts a few years earlier but it did not use it a second time, thus leading to a relatively painless (save for the would-be death from Megidolaon) first-try victory.

For your own attempts, note that while the Reaper only used Megidolaon once in each of my two successful battles, I do not know for certain that this happens in every scenario. For example, it is possible that Reaper may use Megidolaon again after a certain number of turns. In order to err on the safe side – I would recommend that players make haste in finishing off the Reaper after the first Megidolaon, especially if the player character relied on Spirit Bracers to survive the first time.

(As I noted at the top, my first two fights against the Reaper were on Normal difficulty and my third was on Hard. The strategy worked exactly the same in both cases. In hindsight, I am mildly surprised Megidolaon was a clean 1-hit KO on Normal but because I knew that, I went in with Spirit Bracers from the start on Hard.)

Conclusion: Lessons Learned About Infinity Strategy

The Infinity strategy is almost fool-proof provided that the player does not make any mistakes. In theory, the Reaper could land a critical hit physical attack, which could cause the player to lose a turn getting up or get knocked out if the Reaper follows up with a second Megidolaon attack on the player, but that did not happen to me in any of my three attempts.

The Reaper’s Megidolaon behavior was curious, and given that I only challenged the Reaper three times using the strategy I described above, I cannot say with total confidence that I fully understand it. I read one account from a Persona 3 Portable player suggesting that Reaper consistently used Megidolaon when its HP was cut to about 50% (see post 1). In my case, I suspect that my strategy had some influence on the Reaper’s behavior. I witnessed in all three of my battles that Reaper used Megidolaon at a certain HP threshold (I estimated somewhere between 1/3 and 1/4 but I am not exactly sure what the line is). What was interesting to me was that the Reaper used Megidolaon on all three occasions when I was not covered by my own Infinity. Assuming arguendo the Reaper used Megidolaon without regard to whether I was vulnerable, it would have a 50/50 chance of using Megidolaon when I could be hit since I was protected by Infinity every other turn. While we cannot draw firm conclusions from three cases (e.g., there is a 12.5% chance of choosing the same option out of two three straight times; it is theoretically possible I happened to push Reaper below the trigger HP threshold on a bad turn three straight times), I suspect Reaper would have not used Megidolaon when there was no target.

I have a guess as to what triggered the identical Megidolaon behavior in all three cases based in large part on my having spent a couple hundred hours playing multiple versions of Persona 3. I think that the conditions are as follows:

  • Reaper falls below a certain HP threshold;
  • Reaper has at least one target to hit with Megidolaon (in the case of Infinity); or
  • Player uses items/skills to repel magic and/or physical attacks.

I have read some accounts that state that if the player uses a move or items to make the party repel magic and/or physical attacks once, the Reaper begins spamming Megidolaon to punish the player for this indiscretion (see thread comments 4 and 5).. Despite technically being a magic attack, Megidolaon cannot be repelled in the same way as elemental magic. Reaper is not the only Persona enemy to become enraged by repel moves. However, Infinity is not a repel move – it completely nullifies all damage, including almighty-based attacks like Megidolaon. Moreover, in my case, Reaper only used Megidolaon once per battle despite having several opportunities to use it a second time. Infinity does not seem to make the Reaper go crazy. But this is not to say that Infinity does not affect the Reaper’s behavior. My guess is that absent using repel items/skills, Reaper uses Megidolaon when its health falls below a certain threshold, but that Reaper is programmed to make sure that at least one unit on the player’s side is actually open to taking damage. This is why, I think, that the player should always assume that the player character will need to absorb at least one Megidolaon using the Infinity strategy. With that being said however, I could be wrong – it is not impossible that If I tried the strategy several more times, I would discover that Reaper can use Megidolaon when the whole party – including the player character – is protected by Infinity.

If I were optimizing the strategy, I would try to figure out what combination of stats (for Vishnu) and HP (for player), armor (player’s stats can be slightly boosted by armor and even weapons), and possible buffs/de-buffs I would need to survive a single Megidolaon without relying on Spirit Bracers. I know for a fact I was able to survive Medidolaon coming off a 78 magic stat in Persona 3 FES’s The Answer epilogue at a level in the mid-70s (see my article, but note it contain some spoilers about The Answer). Assuming The Reaper’s Megidolaon has no hidden power boost, this suggests that it should, in theory, be survivable at level 78 with Vishnu and the right set up. However, I found at least one account (see comment 5) from a player stating that he could not survive Reaper’s megidolaon on Hard with 738 HP (I think that 738 HP is significantly more than the player character should have at level 78 even with boosts).

The reason I would want to be able to survive one Megidolaon from full health is two-fold. Firstly, not needing Spirit Bracers to survive Megidolaon allows the player to equip a different, potentially more useful item that can help on non-Infinity turns instead of just being an insurance policy (e.g., the player character could have an item to boost HP which may make it possible to survive Megidolaon normally). Secondly, Spirit Bracers could be nullified with bad luck. I noted that it is not impossible for Reaper to land a critical hit on the player and follow up with another attack. If the Reaper did this – Spirit Bracers would protect the player character from death, but Spirit Bracers only work once, meaning that the player would have to survive the eventual Megidolaon without the safety backstop.

While I never tried the Thunder Reign strategy, I grant that Thunder Reign has some advantages over Infinity. Firstly, because Odin can be fused at 63, it is possible to use the Thunder Reign at a significantly lower level than Infinity, which requires the player to be at level 78 (note: you would probably still want to have the party close to 70 to speed the Thunder Reign strategy along). Assuming the player is at 78, the Infinity strategy does burn a significant number of healing items – namely Precious Eggs — and it is more expensive in that way than the Thunder Reign strategy. However, assuming both strategies are available, I think that Infinity is safer than Thunder Reign – especially if the player character can survive one Megidolaon without Spirit Bracers. Thunder Reign can always miss – and Reaper has very high evasion with its maximum 99 agility stat. One miss can lead to problems if the Reaper decides to be smart on the wrong turn. Conversely, Infinity is a very safe strategy since Infinity itself is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, and — provided you enter the battle correctly with the right turn over – it is possible to guarantee with absolute certainty that Reaper can never damage the player’s three party members and can only damage the player character every other turn.

As I noted at the top – there is one additional advantage to Infinity. Granted that I have not tested it outside of Persona 3 FES, it does not rely on the old knockdown mechanics in the original Persona 3 and FES. Thus, while it is possible Reaper may behave differently in Portable and Reload (e.g., I do not know if it uses Megidolaon in the same way), the strategy should work the same for all intents and purposes whereas the Thunder Reign strategy works under different principles in the new games. However, Portable and Reload also introduce new mechanics which, when combined with the player being able to directly control party members, opens the door to some additional strategies that may not be viable in FES. For example, one IGN guide describes Reaper as being somewhat weaker in Reload compared to P3/FES and this impressive Persona 3 Portable Reaper takedown video on “Maniac” difficulty with the protagonist at level 70 shows how some of the new mechanics introduced in Portable can be used to advance strategies that were not available in the first two Persona 3 versions.

See Also

The Reaper proved to not be the last time I struggled with Megidolaon in Persona 3 FES. Not long after I defeated the Reaper in FES, I had another memorable Megidolaon encounter in the FES-exclusive epilogue story, The Answer. In that case, I had to fend off many uses of Megidolaon. You can read that Meidolaon story here, although note that it does spoil some aspects of the epilogue story which has to date not appeared in a later Persona 3 release.

Extra Story: A Reaper-Infinity Strategy in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

My experience beating the Reaper for the first time inspired my strategy in a different game in 2015. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is one of my favorite all time games. I stumbled upon a strategy for its final boss fight wherein if I positioned my party close together (Trails is turn-based but also position-based), I could cover all four of my team members with a spell that nullified damage for one turn. Through this method, I was able to make it impossible for the final boss to actually damage me. While this made the final battle anti-climactic, it did bring back some Persona 3 FES reaper memories. For whatever it is worth, I will note that the Reaper is far more challenging than any enemy in Trails in the Sky, so my cheesy strategy was not strictly necessary in Trails like it was in Persona 3 FES.