Apsaras Or Leanan Sidhe Choice, Explained

In the first major zone of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, you’ll encounter your first sidequest with a branching outcome. You’ll (most likely) first see Apsaras, surrounded by demons kneeling before her. According to her, she wants to protect these demons by forcing them to acknowledge their weaknesses and seek protection from her circle of gods. Meanwhile, Leanan Sidhe wishes to enrich the lives of weaker demons and help them realize their dreams, even if it winds up cutting their lives short.

Both ask you to assassinate the other, since they view each other as dangerous and disingenuous. But which should you choose?

To ease your initial concerns, there’s no “right” answer in terms of who you should side with. However, you should base your reasoning on two distinct factors. The first is your prize, as whichever demon you assist will join your party, even if your level is below theirs. The second consideration, although not explicitly stated by the game, is the effect this decision will have on your alignment. Even with these criteria in mind, neither decision you make here will have irreversible implications for the rest of the game. If you want the easy answer for which side you should take, just follow whoever you think is right.

For those of you who need a detailed breakdown of what this decision entails, we’ll explain everything you need to know below.

How alignment works in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Two characters talk in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance.

Screenshot: ATLUS / Kotaku

Even though Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a predominantly linear adventure, it contains a (mostly) hidden alignment mechanic. As per Shin Megami Tensei tradition, many of your decisions will push you towards the Law or Chaos alignment. If you’re familiar with Dungeons and Dragons’ grid-alignment system, you’ll have a general baseline of what these terms mean in this universe. However, for those new to Shin Megami Tensei, know that Law and Chaos do not necessarily mean “good” and “evil.”

In short, Law in Shin Megami Tensei V is synonymous with the status quo. If you make decisions that uphold the hierarchy of the old god(s) ruling over humanity, go against the ideology of “survival of the fittest,” and value peace over individuality, your alignment will veer towards Law.

Meanwhile, the Chaos alignment predominantly focuses on freedom. This typically includes rebelling against the powers that be, enriching yourself when you can, and seeking to revolutionize the world. This isn’t a complete description of each alignment, but those are the overarching ideals.

That said, the impact of alignment is fairly subdued in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance. Without divulging into spoilers, this mechanic primarily exists to dictate which ending you should get in the Canon of Creation and which ending you will get in the Canon of Vengeance. But don’t worry, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance isn’t hiding a robust branching narrative a la Mass Effect or other games with more complex alternative narrative outcomes.

So which alignments do Apsaras and Leanan Sidhe represent?

Siding with Apsaras will push your alignment towards Law, whereas choosing Leanan Sidhe is the Chaos-friendly option. That said, you have ample time to tilt your alignment towards whichever side you want before this mechanic even matters. You’ll find quests that follow this exact formula as you progress, complete with the reward of recruiting a free demon to your party.

If you’re playing the Canon of Vengeance, Yoko will also comment on your choice. She’ll stick with you regardless of what alignment path you pick, but if you feel a kinship with her, know that she generally prefers Chaos-aligned options when given a choice.

The player character talks with Apsaras, a demon.

Screenshot: ATLUS / Kotaku

Apsaras and Leanan Sidhe’s stats and abilities

If you don’t care about the story implications of your decision, you can base your decision on which demon you’d prefer in your party instead. To be clear, you can get both Asparas and Leanan Sidhe once your level is high enough. However, this is your chance to potentially get one of them early.

A screenshot of Apsaras' abilities shows her various stats and options.

Screenshot: ATLUS / Kotaku

Apsaras is primarily an ice magic user. She has access to the single-target Bufu and the party-wide Mabufu, which comes in clutch for the early game–fter all, AoE attacks remain fairly scarce until you reach roughly level 20. Additionally, Apsaras learns Patra (which heals ailments) and Tarunda (an attack debuff), which lets her play support. This is especially helpful on the Canon of Vengeance path, since you’ll encounter an early-game boss whose signature attack is a party-wide charm spell. Since Apsaras is fully immune to Charm, she is uniquely qualified to counter this mechanic.

However, Apsaras is weak to fire. That makes her a liability in the game’s first major boss encounter.

Leanan Sidhe's character screen shows her various stats, moves, and abilities.

Screenshot: ATLUS / Kotaku

Meanwhile, Leanan Sidhe specializes in inflicting status ailments and healing. Marin Karin inflicts the Charm status ailment on one enemy, which has boosted odds of succeeding thanks to her Burden of Talent passive ability. She even regenerates MP when inflicting status ailments thanks to her Curse Siphon skill. However, I’d argue the real star of Leanan Sidhe’s kit is Media as party-wide healing is invaluable in tough battles, and up until this point, you’d only have access to Angel’s signature move Humble Blessing for team healing.

Leanan Sidhe also learns Mudo and Mamudo, allowing her to target enemies weak to dark magic with her high magic stat. All told, Leanan Sidhe is surprisingly versatile out of the box.

The player character talks to Leanan Sidhe, a demon.

Screenshot: ATLUS / Kotaku

Should you pick Apsaras or Leanan Sidhe?

If alignment isn’t a concern, I’d say your decision depends on your party make-up and your story path. If you’re playing the Canon of Vengeance, I’d recommend Apsaras. The combination of Charm immunity and access to Patra just helps so much against that one certain boss. Also, Apsaras’ resistances are a good early-game fit for your protagonist’s affinities, so using her early means you’ll get her Essence sooner.

That said, if you need party-wide healing, Leanan Sidhe is a great pick. She provides solid damage and potentially invaluable support depending on your team composition.You can’t go wrong with using her. Status ailments are also more helpful than you’d think in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, so access to charm is no small thing either.

Frankly, I wound up using both Apsaras and Leanan Sidhe throughout the early game. They’re valuable, bring helpful tools to your party, and are well worth the cost of fusing them. So no matter what you’ll pick, there’s no wrong answer here. You’ll be able to get whichever demon you missed in just a few levels anyway.

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