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Wild Card

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P3-Protagonist-WildCard

Those who posses the wild card are often symbolized by multiple masks.

"It is like the number zero... empty, yet holding infinite potential within itself."
—Igor, Persona 4

In the Persona series, the wild card is the ability to form a contract allowing one to access and summon multiple Personas and switch between them in battle, and the ability to change bonds into strength. The wild card is most closely related to the Fool Arcana, with its Tarot numeral being zero (0). The term is also associated with the capabilities of Fusion Spells, where multiple Personas are summoned at the same time in order to execute a powerful attack.

AppearancesEdit

ProfileEdit

Early Persona titlesEdit

The wild card was never mentioned prior to Persona 3, but in Megami Ibunroku Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, all playable characters were able to switch Personas in combat and had access to the Velvet Room. All playable characters are also able to use the Fusion Spell system, which requires two or more characters with the appropriate Personas to execute. 

Persona 3Edit

"Only those who have signed the contract can enter this place."
—Igor, Persona 3

The Protagonist (or the Female Protagonist should that route be chosen) is the only character in Persona 3 to possess the wild card. While they have never shown to have a direct interaction with Philemon, they are visited by him under the guise of a blue butterfly[1]. It should be noted that both protagonists are also visited by a child that is not visible to others, who prompts them to sign a contract, which later reveals to be the source behind the protagonists' wild card ability. Having signed the contract, the protagonists are granted access to the Velvet Room, and thus allowed to fuse and create new Personas.

The protagonists's wild card ability appears to be significantly superior to that of all other known users. Unlike prior users, they are compatible with every Arcana present in the game. This could be due to their natural Arcana being that of the Fool, which can supposedly become anything in its awakening. On the other hand, they have no highly-compatible Personas either, as any Persona of any Arcana they use do average performance (no more/less SP cost or faster/slower Level Up). This is on contrast with Persona and Persona 2 characters whose each of them uses Personas more or less effectively (or even, cannot use) based on their Arcana compatibility. Further more, they are also the only known Persona-users capable of using Fusion Spells on their own, without the assistance of others.

In events of Persona 3, it is later revealed that the reason behind both protagonists' superior wild card ability are tied to their past. During their childhood, Death was sealed within their body, in which Death's powers are eventually imbued to the protagonists, amplifying their talents in summoning Personas, and thus their wild card as well, though both protagonists were exceptionally talented to begin with.

The AnswerEdit

In the playable epilogue of Persona 3 FES titled The Answer, Aigis is the only character to gain the ability of the wild card. Like the protagonist before her, she was approached by a blue butterfly before being allowed into The Velvet Room.

Similar to the protagonist before her, Aigis is also compatible with all Arcana in the game. However, unlike the protagonist, her wild card is not boosted by Death's powers, and such, she does not gain the ability to use Fusion Spells.

Persona 4Edit

Persona 4 Protagonists Wild Card

Protagonist's wild card, as seen when first using a Persona.

The protagonist of Persona 4 stands unique in contrast to the characters in the previous installments, as he was automatically welcomed to the Velvet Room, where Igor tells him that while he does not have a "contract" yet, he will enter into a "contract" of sorts in the near future and return. The protagonist was not shown to have any encounter with Philemon nor the butterfly prior to his appearance in the Velvet Room (save points appear as the butterfly, but only appear afterwards). It is hinted that when Izanami gave him the power to enter the Midnight Channel, she inadvertently awakened his wild card ability, but that does not explain how he was able to enter the Velvet Room without it.

A small note should be added that the protagonist had already signed the contract by the time he is approached by Igor, implying that he may have been approached beforehand. Also nothing is said in the game about the butterfly savepoints so that may be implied that he had already seen it by the time of the beginning of the game.

Similar to his predecessor, the protagonist of Persona 4 also has the accessibility to all of the Arcana in the game. His skills with the wild card seem to match that of Aigis, his predecessor, rather than that of the protagonists of Persona 3, because like her, he also has access to most Arcana without any particular preferences, but since his skills also weren't enhanced by Death, he is also unable to use Fusion Spells on his own.

Persona 4 ArenaEdit

"Some have had the talent of turning bonds into great strength by forming a contract through intense desire... We residents of the Velvet Room refer to this talent as the 'wild card', and it has at times changed the course of history."
—Elizabeth, Persona 4 Arena

The wild card is an important story element in Elizabeth's story mode, and a minor story element to its current wielders, Aigis and Yu Narukami, though they do not use it in the game. Much of her story is centered on her understanding the true nature of the wild card, through challenging its last known wielders, Aigis and Yu Narukami, in battle. Despite their inability to defeat Elizabeth, they manage to succeed in helping her understand the full potential of the wild card, enabling her to receive the Fool Arcana.

Yu and Aigis are mostly unable to change Personas during battles and they are only able to do so when they successfully launch their Instant Kills, where Izanagi and Athena will change to Izanagi-no-Okami and Palladion in their Instant Kill animations.

In Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Margaret is the first character to fully utilize the wild card. She freely switches between Cu Chulain, Ardha and Yoshitsune during battle, then to Helel when she launches her instant kill.

Persona Q: Shadow of the LabyrinthEdit

"The Fool is the number zero... It is the Arcana that represents beginnings, and infinite possibilities. Just like the card, my guest can wield infinite personas. We call that ability the power of the wild card."
—Elizabeth, Persona Q

In Persona Q, the true power of the wild card gets sealed off from both the P3 and P4 Heroes. Margaret explains that the two groups are trapped within a finite plane of existence, which limits the Wild Card's representation infinite possibilities. While all playable characters originating from Persona 3 and Persona 4 are unable to change their main Personas, including the leaders, they all have the ability to equip a second, Sub-Persona. Margaret and Elizabeth learn by using the Tarot that the ability to equip the sub personas is due to the blessings of the Fool, showing its blessing upon them all due to multiple users of the card being together.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://megamitensei.wikia.com/wiki/File:Persona_DoubleJump_Atlus_Interview.png

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