Smirk (ニヤリ, Niyari)? is a feature in the series.
Shin Megami Tensei IV
When an abnormal effect on a combat turn happens due to an offensive action scoring a critical hit or is nullified, the beneficiary will have a moderate chance to receive the "Smirk" status until their next active turn. Any ailment will prevent the unit from receiving Smirk. This status lasts only a single turn no matter what action the unit takes next, even passing their turn or scoring another critical hit. If the Smirking unit does not get the opportunity to take a turn, the Smirk status will remain until they take their next turn. If the Smirked unit is inflicted with any ailment, Smirk status will be instantly removed.
The effects of Smirking include maximizing buffs like Tarukaja (boosts attack damage), boosting critical chance of attacks to 95% and 70% for phys and gun respectively, boosting hit rate of normal attacks and physical skills to 100%, removing the unit's weakness and preventing the enemy's critical chance, and boosting evasion rate to 85% against all incoming attacks, but with no changes to ailment infliction chances. For this reason, it is more beneficial if Smirk is triggered near the end of the player phase to take full advantage of its defensive aspects. If all 4 player combatants are Smirked at the same time, they will have half of their maximum HP and MP recovered. The attack power enhancement bonus of Smirk will not alter any previously applied stat modifiers if the Smirking unit has not maximized all stat enhancements or is under any stat penalty effect; the stat modifier will revert to the state before receiving Smirk.
One situation that could frustrate players is that, while all combatants of both the player and enemy teams can Smirk when its condition are met, guest allies (e.g. Isabeau, Walter, and Jonathan) cannot. Moreover, since players cannot directly interfere with a guest's actions or apply stat enhancements, a guest's failed attack will jeopardize the player's survivability by granting Smirk to the enemy.
As Smirk requires one to be free of all ailments and is immediately canceled upon receiving one, it is a good idea for players to keep skills which induce ailments, particularly persistent ones like poison and sick, in their repertoires, especially for boss fights.
Smirk can be instantly bestowed to any valid target with the skill Archangel's Law, a DLC-exclusive skill unique to Michael, who is unlocked after completing the "Clipped Wings 2" DLC Challenge Quest.
Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse
This feature is expanded to activate the additional effect of certain skills. For example, "Muscle Punch", which normally deals moderate physical damage on one enemy, will additionally inflict the "Daze" status ailment when its user is Smirking (such skills will be highlighted in the skill menu while Smirked). Most notably, Hama and Mudo skills now do light and dark-based damage, respectively, and their instant-kill effect only factors in if the user is Smirking. This does not apply to any bosses, which are immune to instant-kills. If they are used to target a boss, they do damage instead.
Smirk now grants all damage-dealing attacks 100% crit rate and hit rate - even Magic attacks can now land critical hits and grant Press Turn advantages. Defensively, Smirking combatants no longer enjoy an evasion bonus, but maintain Smirk even when struck, and have any attacks to their weaknesses or any critical hits converted to normal hits and denying their opponents potential Press Turn advantages. Members can now pass their turn at least once and maintain their Smirk status; the Smirk icon will flash to indicate that it will disappear the next time regardless of the character's actions.
Demons that ambush the protagonist may commence the battle with Smirk. Conversely, getting a preemptive attack on demons may have some of the party themselves Smirking, with a new app increasing the chances that party members will begin battles Smirked during preemptive strikes. The party will no longer recover HP and MP if all 4 party members are Smirked at the same time. Various bosses, starting with King Frost, may carry signature skills that inflict additional effects while Smirking, and carry Smile Charge to guarantee that status, though the skill Magaon, which removes Smirk from one enemy, becomes available at about that point in the game.
- The icon of smirk resembles the icon of the ailment 'Possession' from the Persona 2 duology.