I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Persona 5 Strikers lately – its reminded me just how much I love the characters in these games (the original, Royal, and now, Strikers) and how they bring the narrative to life. Of course, in Persona 5, the characters also have a significant affect on the gameplay – the more time you choose to spend with each confidant (16 in the vanilla game, and 19 in Royal) the more of their unique abilities will be available to you. It’s a benefit to socializing, but also an incentive to prioritize certain confidants; without a doubt, some characters have better abilities to be unlocked than others. This particular tier list will focus on my personal ranking of each characters’ gameplay usefulness – not the characters personally, or their stories; the characters in each tier (which I’ve named after the Proficiency Stats in-game) are not in any particular order. I’ve also decided not to include the confidants tied to story progression (the Fool, Magician, and Judgement) since the player has no control over when those confidants rank up. Finally: I’m including the confidants in Royal as well, so the gang’s all here! Let’s get started.
Fortune | Chihaya Mifune
The fortune teller is one of the best confidants in the game – particularly if you’re like me, and obsessed with getting all your confidants to rank 10 in each playthrough. Using her Affinity Reading ability, which unlocks at rank 7, she can effectively replace a hang-out session with a confidant of your choice – at the cost of a mere 5,000 yen, and more crucially, without causing time to pass. So you want to hang out with Hifumi, but her confidant isn’t going to rank up? Turn that wasted evening into a successful rank-up by talking to Chihaya! I found this skill absolutely invaluable when it came to certain confidants that seem to take forever to rank up (Ann, looking at you). Chihaya also possesses the Money Reading skill, which I always activated before heading into Mementos – the huge boost in yen this grants you from battles is immensely useful in helping to fill out your Persona Compendium (an expensive endeavor), and generally keeping you well stocked on items and accessories – by keeping your wallet full! Her Luck Reading ability that boosts social stats isn’t as critical in Royal, because of the extra amount of free time you have compared to the original game, however, it’s still a useful thing to have access to. Overall, the Fortune confidant is easily one of the best to commit your precious time to.
Tower | Shinya Oda
Now, hear me out before you start yelling. Royal made some major changes to the way that guns work – now, your ammo replenishes after every encounter, instead of only when you leave the Metaverse. They also added guns with additional benefits – namely, the ability to inflict status effects on Shadows. This made using the guns not only much more feasible, as you’re not constantly worried about conserving ammo, but actually extremely helpful, especially in the late game. Now, to Shinya – Shinya is your stereotypical gamer kid, and he’ll teach you the ins-and-outs of Gun About, a popular shooting game. In ranking up the Tower confidant, you’ll gain access to more abilities that enhance your shooting skills, including more ammo, the Bullet Hail ability (which essentially gives you the chance for free damage after an ambush) and more importantly, the Down Shot – a free knockdown for any Shadow, useable up to three times per infiltration. This is useful for nabbing Treasure Demons, or getting a free All-Out Attack on a particularly tough Shadow. Most importantly of all, however, is his level 10 ability, the Oda Special. This allows Joker to ignore the gun resistances and immunities of Shadows. Let me tell you how I utilize this skill: with a gun that has the added effect of inflicting Shock (after being shocked, a Shadow can be knocked down using either a Physical attack, or a Nuclear one) you can literally get free knockdowns on all the end-game Shadows that have no weaknesses, and usually Gun immunity. This makes getting knockdowns and All-Out Attacks so easy. You can breeze through fights that might otherwise take 20 minutes to get through. For these reasons, Shinya Oda is a top tier confidant for me.
Star | Hifumi Togo
Hifumi is not exactly the most exciting character – she’s a shogi player, determined to claw her way to the top of competitive play, but she’s quite dull. Her abilities, however, make her worth spending time with; most of her rewards center around combat utility. For example, her Koma Sabaki allows Joker to swap out a party member on his turn, during combat. If you suddenly realize your team members aren’t the best choice for a particular boss or tough Shadow, you can swap them on the fly (with her level 10 ability, you can swap members out during anyone’s turn). This ability single-handedly saved my sanity during the Okumura boss fight. Hifumi’s other abilities, like Narikin (huge money boost if you win in a single turn after an ambush), are worth having as well. Touryou (rank 9), for instance, allows you to escape from an encounter immediately. This was crucial when farming the Reaper during flu season in the original Persona 5, and though they eliminated the ability to do this in Royal, having the option to instantly escape a fight is still extremely valuable. Overall, the Star confidant is well worth your time, for the options it gives you during combat.
Temperance | Sadayo Kawakami
Here’s an important question for you: what is the most valuable asset within the realm of Persona 5? Answer: free time. Utilizing your free time to its maximum potential is critical if you’re wanting to see everything the game has to offer. This is where the Temperance confidant shines. Kawakami is your homeroom teacher, and while at first glance she may not seem as useful as some of the other confidants, her abilities are extremely handy because they help you maximize that precious free time. Her first ability, Slack Off, allows you to use class time (on specific dates) to do other things: craft infiltration tools, read, or study. This is essentially a free chance to boost your social stats. As you continue to level up the Temperance confidant, Kawakami will do more for you: she’ll be able to make infiltration tools herself, cook/brew coffee in Leblanc, or wash gear you find in the Metaverse – while you have the evening to yourself! Her final ability, Special Massage, allows you to leave Leblanc for the night after returning from the Metaverse (instead of being forced to go straight to bed, or hang around the café). Though Royal included more options for stat-boosting activities, Kawakami’s abilities are still top-tier for maximizing your free time.
Chariot | Ryuji Sakamoto
Ya’ll knew I was gonna sneak Ryuji into the S tier – but hear me out, he genuinely deserves to be here. Nearly all your party members, the Phantom Thieves, have identical abilities when leveling up their respective confidants – with the exception of Yusuke, Haru, and Ryuji, who have some more beneficial unique skills. At rank 7, Ryuji unlocks the Insta-Kill ability, which has been drastically improved in Royal. When driving through Mementos, this ability allows you to instantly dispatch Shadows of a lower level than you – while still collecting most of the EXP, and yen you would have gained from the fight (you’ll usually pick up a Persona as well). Anyone who has made the slog through all 66 floors of Mementos knows how valuable this time-save is. Not having to fight every single weak shadow you come across is a blessing, especially when you’re still collecting EXP/money/items from the encounter. With the addition of Jose’s character in Royal, you may end up having to do some sections of this mega-dungeon multiple times (if you’re looking for all those stamp stations) which makes this ability even more of a god-send. Beyond his abilities, Ryuji also has the highest Physical damage output of any party member – the boy gets Critical hits like it’s his day job. Though his Magic is a bit weaker, his Electric-based Persona is capable of inflicting Shock, which the rest of the party can take advantage of. For these reasons, the Chariot confidant is definitely S tier for me.
Councillor | Takuto Maruki
Maruki is one of the new confidants added in Royal – and boy are his abilities useful. The game is not-so-subtle in nudging you to spend time with your new school councillor (mostly because of his story significance – if you’re hoping to access the final “secret” Palace at the end of Royal, you’ll need to max out Maruki’s confidant) but his abilities are genuinely worth it. Maruki will teach you some techniques that will assist Joker in combat. Both Detox and Flow are unlocked quite quickly; Detox gives Joker a random chance to cure himself from a status ailment, while Flow gives him the chance to activate the effect of either Charge (double damage on your next Physical attack) or Concentrate (double damage on a Magic attack) during the first turn of a fight. Though the chances are random and not guaranteed, these are both incredibly useful – and they’re improved by the later Councillor ranks (7 and 9), which increase the chances of each of them occurring. During my playthroughs, I had both of them activate fairly often, and ensuring that Joker is effectively immune to status ailments is a huge advantage in combat. Finally, after almost every hang-out session with Maruki, Joker’s maximum SP will increase. If you’re like me, and try to push through the Palaces in a single day, you’ll know how valuable conserving SP is – sometimes, even an extra 5 SP can make all the difference in the world. The Councillor confidant is well worth your time to prioritize.
Hermit | Futaba Sakura
Futaba, while a member of the Phantom Thieves, focuses exclusively on support, and does not participate directly in combat. Her support abilities however, are unlocked by advancing her confidant – the Hermit. While I would argue that these abilities are not as necessary as some of the ones we’ve talked about thus far, they definitely make your life a lot easier. Her abilities range from healing and buffing party members during combat, to immediately revealing the layout of a floor of Mementos. She can replenish treasure items within Mementos/Palaces (very helpful for getting more yen) and even turn an ambush directly into a Hold Up scenario – no combat required. Her second-to-last ability, Final Guard, can block a would-be fatal attack from KO’ing a party member. This is a great fail-safe to fall back on when Joker is in trouble (losing Joker means an instant Game Over) and it has saved me a couple times during more difficult fights. All in all, spending time with Futaba can make your dungeon-crawling a lot more manageable.
Hierophant | Sojiro Sakura
Sojiro, aka the secret-softie, and owner of Leblanc café, is the Hierophant confidant. Coffee and curry connoisseur, Sojiro can teach you the tricks of the trade, and allow you to make your very own versions of his exclusive recipes. While this may not sound very exciting, both Leblanc’s coffee and curry are SP recovery items. SP recovery items are extremely rare (and usually extremely expensive!) in Persona 5, so being able to craft these items is hugely beneficial. As you continue to rank up the Hierophant confidant, the strength of these items will increase – they’ll be able to recover more SP, and the SP of all party members at the same time (for the curry). While SP conservation is not as pressing a concern in Royal, having access to these items is still invaluable. Kawakami is even able to make them for you, and it no longer takes you a full evening to make them yourself – there’s no reason to not have a steady supply of java to keep you going through the Palaces and Mementos. Is it just me, or would you like to try these signature dishes IRL?
Emperor | Yusuke Kitagawa
Yusuke is… a bit of an oddball, but as the Emperor confidant, his abilities are quite useful. As I mentioned earlier with Ryuji, Yusuke is one of the other members of your party that gets a more unique ability – namely, his card duplication skills. Throughout the game, you’ll find skill cards that you can use to bestow said skill onto a Persona of your choice – this is a really cool way of customizing certain Personas to your own playstyle, as well as keeping lower-level Personas relevant for longer in the game. However, these cards are single-use items – one and done. This is where Yusuke comes in – he can duplicate cards that you have on your person, allowing you to create multiple versions of the same skill card. As you continue to rank up the Emperor confidant, he’ll be able to duplicate stronger skill cards. In combat, Yusuke is capable of putting out a ton of Physical damage, as well as getting some handy freezes with his Ice-type skills. While I personally tend to underutilize Yusuke (both in and out of combat), I can recognize the value of having his abilities available to you. Once again, in terms of party members, Yusuke is one of the first ones you should have your eye on maxing out.
Priestess | Makoto Niijima
Pretty much all of the Phantom Thieves are in the B Tier for me personally – they all have similar abilities unlocked at the same levels. While having your party members as strong as possible is obviously important, they just don’t have the same utility as some of the other confidants. Makoto is a good example – she has the usual Harisen Recovery, Baton Pass, and Protect abilities, and her unique ones involve analyzing Shadows. At rank 7, her ability Shadow Factorization can reveal the Null/Drain/Repel elements of new Shadows, meaning you’re not wasting time and SP trying to figure out their immunities and weaknesses. This is great, but not enough to justify making her confidant a top priority. However, her Nuclear skills, reasonable Physical damage and ability to heal make her a great all-around fighter (especially with the new emphasis Royal puts on inflicting status ailments, which Nuclear can capitalize on) so I have her in my party quite often. Though Makoto is a favourite character of mine, and she is best girl (fight me) her abilities are pretty standard.
Lovers | Ann Takamaki
Ann is in the same boat as Makoto – though her unique ability, Sexy Technique (which has a chance to distract a Shadow and entirely cancel out their move) it’s not enough to justify having her in a higher tier. I believe she has one of the highest – if not the highest – Magic stat in the game on her Persona, so she is quite strong when it comes to combat. Her Fire affinity also has the chance to burn Shadows, making for a strong combination with Makoto’s Nuclear. She also has a number of other ailment options, and buffs/debuffs. Other than that, she has the same abilities as all your party members, and though she’s a fun character, her confidant is nothing special.
Empress | Haru Okumura
Haru, aka the Empress confidant, actually has a handful of useful abilities that are related to her hobby of growing vegetables – you can ask her to grow some crops, which will take a certain amount of in-game days before they are ready to harvest. These are SP recovery items (in the form of beans, carrots, tomatoes) that are extremely valuable, however, they’re just not on par with the items you can make in Leblanc. Because of the time they take to cultivate, and the fact that they’re introduced so late in the game, a mere two months before the story wraps up (a rather glaring issue, I would argue) it’s hard to make the case that Haru is a higher tier confidant. I also tend to underutilize Haru in combat – her Gun attacks, as well as her Psychic skills are quite strong, but I find it frustrating trying to fit all of her boost/amp skills in together. Though her abilities are useful (especially the ones that are vegetable-related) and she’s a fairly strong combatant, she simply arrives too late in the game for me.
Justice | Goro Akechi
Ahh, Mr. Akechi. When they made him a full-blown confidant in Royal, one that you could spend time with like any other, it was super exciting. And I do genuinely enjoy Akechi’s hang-out sessions, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have any abilities that make him especially worthwhile. Similar to Makoto’s abilities, Akechi has the chance to reveal a Shadow’s affinities right off the bat with Sleuthing Mastery. As I said before, while useful, it’s not anything game-breakingly powerful or even necessary. His Persona, Robin Hood, does cover both Curse and Bless, and it has some strong physical attacks as well – this makes Akechi one of the better party members to use for combat, if only for his extra utility. I mean, for that entire one Palace, anyway. Akechi is worth spending time with because he’s Akechi, but otherwise, his abilities fall quite flat.
Death | Tae Takemi
This goth-looking doctor in Yongen-Jaya is one of my favourite characters. Her style is great, and she’s got an interesting story, however, I’ve never been that impressed by the abilities of her confidant. All of Takemi’s abilities are centered around the items available at her clinic – ranking up the Death confidant unlocks more stock, as well as a reduction in price of all items. While having easy access to a supply of healing items is objectively useful, I simply don’t use them very much. I tend to focus on healing my party using their Persona abilities (via Auto-Recover), and use items as a fall-back option. They’re useful in a pinch, but they’re not the kinds of items I rely on too heavily during my playthroughs. For me personally, this makes Takemi one of the B Tier confidants – useful, but not necessary.
Faith | Kasumi Yoshizawa
For the sake of non-spoilers, we’re referring to Yoshizawa as such. The Faith confidant is a new addition to Royal, and while Yoshizawa is a fun character, neither her abilities, nor her involvement in the game give me cause to put her in a tier higher than C. This feels a bit unfair (since I said I wasn’t taking their character arcs into account) but I can’t help it with this one – Yoshizawa is teased as a party member throughout the story (as she is aware of the identities of the Phantom Thieves far before the end of the game) but doesn’t join up until the final Palace. In fact, if you were to miss the secret third semester of the game, she wouldn’t be playable at all. The second half of her confidant ranks are gated behind this final semester (you can only get her to rank 5 before January), and the only useful ability she has is the Chaines Hook – this allows you to use your grappling hook to ambush enemies from afar. While her Persona, Cendrillon, is super cool design-wise, it’s not a standout in combat. Her primary affinity is Bless, and she has some very strong Physical attacks, but these are covered better by other party members. Overall, she’s very average in combat, and the fact that the game advertised her so heavily, only to completely underutilize her in the actual product, is really quite sad.
Moon | Yuuki Mishima
So I actually kind of like Mishima – he’s like me, a quiet nobody, a bystander, a Townsperson B. But in terms of gameplay, his usefulness is pretty limited. Ranking up his confidant allows your backup teammates (i.e. not the four currently in your party) to earn additional EXP. While this is nice, it’s not entirely necessary, especially if you’re swapping out your squad members frequently. For me, he’s usually a backburner kind of confidant – one to hang out with when no one else is available. Sorry, Mishima.
Strength | The Twin Wardens
I waffled on this one for a while – I’m still not sure whether the Strength confidant belongs in the B or C Tier. While the Twins give you access to phenomenal abilities, which allow you to strengthen your Personas, and eventually, summon Personas that are beyond your current level, they’re not integrated into the game particularly well. All that is involved in progressing their confidant ranks is showing them a particular Persona – for example, their first rank requires you to present a Jack Frost with Mabufu. I usually completely forget about them for half the game, then rush to do all of their ranks at once. In Royal, you can take the Twins out on the town to experience some some top tier comedy moments as they explore the real world, but there’s no real incentive to do so, especially when other confidants are available. The amount of yen they charge you to summon higher level Personas is also astronomical, so it’s not necessarily a fantastic ability. The Strength confidant is certainly worth paying attention to, for the boost to your Persona-related pursuits, but they’re not exactly at the forefront of memorable confidants for me.
Hanged | Iwai Munehisa
I feel like this one is maybe unwarranted. But for me, being able to customize your guns is just… not that helpful. Once I’ve unlocked Iwai’s rank 3 (Camo Customization) which allows you to inflict status ailments with your firearms, I’m pretty much done with the Hanged confidant. I use guns almost exclusively for knockdowns (which lead to All-Out Attack opportunities) not necessarily to inflict high amounts of damage, so customization for the weapons I don’t use very much just isn’t that appealing. All of his further rank abilities involve more options for customizing your guns, and eventually, customization free of charge. I’m sure for some players this is a useful confidant, but for me and my playstyle, Iwai gets largely ignored until the end of the game when I have no other options remaining.
Devil | Ichiko Ohya
Now we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with the D Tier confidants, and first up, we have the Devil. Ohya is quite literally the most boring confidant, on top of being completely useless, gameplay-wise. Ranking up the Devil confidant simply affords a blanket decrease in the security level of the Palaces, along with a slower increase every time a Shadow spots you. That’s it. It’s extremely easy to stay hidden in the Palaces already, and with each successful stealth ambush, the security level will drop anyway. I don’t know a single player that has ever struggled with maintaining a low security level during their infiltrations (unless they’re trying to raise it on purpose, to hunt Treasure Demons). These abilities are utterly pointless, and if my 100% completionist self would allow it, I would ignore Ohya completely. Unfortunately, I still pursue her confidant to its maximum rank on each playthrough, but it’s hardly worth it.
Sun | Toranosuke Yoshida
I don’t think the Sun confidant deserves to be lumped into the same category as Ohya, because his abilities are at least somewhat useful, but I couldn’t justify putting him any higher. Yoshida, a politician who has fallen out of favour, will teach you to improve your speech skills – this aids you in your negotiations in the Metaverse. You can ask Shadows for more money during a Hold Up, or make it easier to convince Shadows to join you while speaking to them. However useful, I just can’t find in it me to want to hang out with Yoshida. Royal added a couple more “guidance” features that make the negotiation system easier already, and though extorting more money from Shadows is always a bonus, it’s not something I would pursue a confidant for. I think you could make the argument that the Sun confidant is at least a C Tier character, but for now, Yoshida is stuck down here.
Alright, that’s a wrap! What did you think of my choices? Let me know your top-tier picks in the comments below!