Shin Megami Tensei V - How to beat Hydra

Shin Megami Tensei V’s Hydra boss fight may make for a jarring first encounter, even if you’re playing on its Normal difficulty. The monster isn’t hard to beat after some prep work, but it’s not something to casually saunter up to, either. 

Aogami will warn you—just as he does in some subquests leading up to this—before the encounter and you should take the chance to back out if you aren’t ready. If the boss is giving you a headache, we’ve got a little advice on the challenge, and we’ll explain how to beat Hydra, along with a few demon recommendations, below. 

What demons do I need for the Hydra fight? 

The Hydra is weak to Bufu (Ice) skills, and it’s worth investing in these demons for other nearby encounters like the fight with Pazuzu in the Cursed Mermaids subqest

Early on, you have access to the demon Azumi in nearby rivers. I chose to fuse Mermaid, fusing Pixie and Preta or Pixie and Azumi, so I had access to Stormcaller Song. Early on, Stormcaller Song is a pretty powerful Bufu skill to knock out enemies with Ice weakness.

I also brought along Angel, who had early access to healing abilities for those just-in-case scenarios, but it took quite a beating due to Mudo (Darkness) damage. Hydra will use Toxic Breath for its Magatsuhi skill, which hits everyone for Darkness damage. You can use other easy-to-pick-up Dia users from along the way if you want someone to heal up for free.

Turdak and Daemon are other simple choices to bring along, they’re both resistant to some of Hydra’s attacks. Just make sure you don’t bring anyone that relies on Agi (Fire) or Mudo (Darkness) skills going into battle, as it resists that damage. 

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How to beat Hydra in SMTV

Hydra is the big bad waiting for you at Tokyo Tower, and he gates off a chunk of content in SMTV’s first area, Minato. You’ll find the big snake just on a hill to the west of the Hamamatsucho Leyline, and you can unlock the Tokyo Tower Leyline teleport right before fighting it. 

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Making sure you have those demons recruited and in your party before battle is the biggest determiner. If you’re new to SMT, this is something you should keep in mind after this first fight—fusing and negotiating with demons is the most important bit of battle prep. As for leveling, I was around level 14 when I beat Hydra and squeaked by. It’s worth grinding a couple out just to keep fusing demons. 

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As always, I went into battle with my Magatsuhi skill ready to go, and popped Omagatoki: Critical immediately. Focus on getting those Bufu skills out when you can to exploit Hydra’s weakness, so spam Stormcaller Song if you brought Mermaid. Again, avoid using Agi and Mudo skills.

When it’s Hydra’s turn, it will use Frenzy and Fire Breath. Frenzy does physical damage to your team while Fire Breath is an Agi skill hitting 2-5 times across your party. Once its Magatsuhi skill is charged it will use Toxic Breath, which also runs the risk of poisoning your party. 

If Hydra manages to wipe your party, consider going back and prepping with Miracles or demons. We’ve got other resources to help with those tasks: 

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