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Skill Potential – SMT V guide

Why do some Shin Megami Tensei V skills have + or - after them?

Skill Potential  – Shin Megami Tensei 5 guide Image: Atlus/Sega

In this Shin Megami Tensei V Skill Potential guide, we’ll explain what Skill Potential is and how it relates to the Skills and attacks of your party.

SMT V has a complicated system of elemental damage and Affinities. These affect everything from Weaknesses and Resistances to how much damage certain skills deal. That extra (or reduced) damage is controlled by the Skill Potential stat for every demon and the protagonist and appears as a + or - after the skill’s name.

Shin Megami Tensei V Skill Potential

Think of Skill Potential as how good a demon is at dealing a certain type of damage.

Skill Potential – Shin Megami Tensei 5 guide
Skill Potential is found in the upper right.
Image: Atlus/Sega via Polygon

You’ll be able to see a demon’s Skill Potential when you check their Status (Y button) in the Party menu. Look in the upper right for the Skill Potential list. Positive numbers mean improvements to skills that deal that kind of damage. Negative numbers mean those skills will be weaker.

In the image above, you can see that this Leanan Sidhe demon is good at Dark (+3) and Healing (+2) skills, but bad at Force (-3) and Ice (-2) skills.

Higher and lower numbers in the various Skill Potential categories are related to the amount of damage dealt or even the MP cost of using that Skill.

Essence and Skill Potential

Essence makes it so that any demon can learn (almost) any skill, but you should bear Skill Potential in mind when doing so. Mismatches in Essence Fusion and your demons’ Skill Potential can be a waste of that Essence. Instead, try to match Essences to your demons’ strengths — Affinities they have high (or at least positive) Skill Potential in — to deal more damage.

Increasing Skill Potential

Certain items increase Skill Potential. Look for Sutras — like an Elec Sutra — that will raise a demon’s Skill Potential in that element by one point.