It doesn’t take long to master the basics of combat in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. The game does a very good job of introducing each major component individually, giving new players plenty of minor battles to practice before hitting them with another layer of challenge. The encounters don’t stay easy forever, however, and players will often find themselves facing highly difficult “Savage Enemies” as early as the second dungeon in Illusory Shibuya 106. These encounters scale to the player’s level so they’re not impossible to overcome, but achieving victory requires a mix of prior preparation, well-executed strategy and knowledge of the enemy. All of these are extremely important, but knowing the weaknesses and behaviors of the enemy mirages (enemies) takes immediate precedence.
Fight or Retreat?
Unlike in normal battles, the mirages faced in Savage encounters are usually stronger than the player’s party and are much more aggressive overall; if they can launch a session on someone, they absolutely will. So before deciding whether or not to commit to a Savage Enemy Encounter, take a moment to examine the enemy mirages and see if they can exploit a party-member’s weakness. If they can and are able to attack before that character’s first turn, then it’s best to do one of two things: either use an item to reflect the incoming attack or use a Smoke Machine (make sure to always have about five of these in stock) to immediately escape from battle. Gaining the upper hand is vital to securing victory in a Savage Encounter, so it’s better to retreat if that isn’t possible. Retreat is also the better option when facing mirages whose strengths and weaknesses are still unknown. Every turn counts in these encounters, so players cannot afford to launch an ineffective attack.
If conditions appear favorable and one decides to commit to battle, then the first order of business is to further tip the balance in one’s favor. If the turn-order allows it, one should swap out the most vulnerable party member(s) before doing anything else. Enemy sessions must be avoided at all costs, so removing opportunities is going to go a long way. One should also consider buffing either the strength or defense of the entire party. Increased strength is better if the enemy mirage(s) have low base HP and can be quickly eliminated, but defense is better against the more beefy enemies. Lastly, one needs to select a target. Again, limiting session opportunities is paramount, so one should target the mirages most capable of launching them.
Launching a Special Performance is the best method for accomplishing this, since they tend to inflict high amounts of damage, initiate sessions and even debuff enemies. If Special Performances aren’t available, and normal sessions won’t be enough to eliminate the desired target, then the next best option is to take out the next link in the chain. Sessions depend on sequential attacks, so breaking the sequence is enough to render them powerless. If neither of these options are doable, then use the least vulnerable character to weaken the target and use items to protect the other two.
Surviving beyond the first turn is going to depend heavily on what players have available to them. If there are still enough SP bars to launch a Special Performance, then that should be one’s first action. None of the Special Performances in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore will always the best choice for every situation, but Touma’s “Full Throttle” is usually a dependable choice when targeting high base HP enemies, since it makes all following physical session strikes into critical hits. Any enemy hit with this should fall quickly afterward, making the rest of the battle a relatively simple matter of maintaining one’s momentum.
Enemies will still hit hard even without sessions, so one should make sure to keep the party’s defense buffed after the first turn. Using items is an option as well, but only if they provide strong buffs/healing to the party or guaranteed debuffs to all enemies on the field; specifically, items like Attack Mirror, Magic Mirror or Rakukaja Stone are good choices. Other items like the various elemental stones are nice in normal battles, but they’re basically useless here since they can’t be used to launch sessions and don’t do much damage at all on their own.
Speaking of sessions, they’re going to be the main source of the party’s damage output, just like in normal battles; there should be no individual attacks launched during a Savage Enemy encounter. Attacks targeting multiple enemies aren’t generally advisable either as such attacks are too expensive for the amount of damage they inflict. Only use these if there are multiple, low base HP enemies on the field that the party can quickly eliminate. Otherwise, just keep playing defensively while keeping the party’s health up and focusing on one enemy at a time. Don’t be afraid to swap-in other party members if the situation calls for it too, but make sure to protect them with items if they’re weak to enemy attacks. Outside of the very early game, this should be enough to emerge victorious and claim the highly valuable Detritus prize.