Saria paired with Awoken Thor forms the powerful 2x HP / 14.06x ATK / 2.5x RCV tank team that is capable of clearing end game content. Mono-colour tank teams have made a resurgence in popularity because they are capable of absorbing massive attacks and thus not need to bring any form of damage mitigation, able to recover large amount of health due to the 2.5x recovery multiplier, and able to deal lethal damage by stacking row enhance awakenings along with built in damage enhancement. You will not see the spectacularly high numbers every turn that rainbow teams can produce, but instead are able to consciously control your damage as you are active reliant for damage output. Do note that just because your starting multiplier is only 14.06x, you can still burst like other high end leads because you are able to stack a single colour for damage along with specific actives and awakenings.
In addition, I would like to thank everyone who contributed their insights as well as screenshots for this guide. Even if your image was not featured, I still took note of your team roster and dungeon clearing capacity. So once again thank you to all my fellow Puzzle and Dragoners.
- Ability to control your damage as this is becoming more relevant with specific absorption shields that require you to hit less damage or else they heal
- provides a full board change and brings a 2x damage enhancement
- Bolstered health and recovery allow for easier stalling and removes the need to bring damage mitigation
- Leaders have a combined 5 awakenings along with 2 skill bind resist
- Offers a different playstyle to those tired of rainbow or higher multiplier mono colour teams
- Team building is modestly flexible as you can swap out (mostly REM subs) various subs to address specific dungeon mechanics
- lacks an ultimate evolution and thus has room to grow in the future
- 1 of your leaders is a pretty girl
- Vulnerable to binds. This is becoming a more relevant issue with unbindable leaders becoming more common and dungeons having more pre-emptive binds. Furthermore, if your leaders are bound, you lose your health and recovery multiplier
- Ideal team building is quite REM heavy as you wish to focus on awakenings
- Row based teams face a tougher time against bosses with higher combo shield requirements as rows take up more space on the board. Also the leaders only provide 1 time extend awakening
- Reliant on actives to trigger the additional damage through the leader skill along with having enough light orbs to form rows. Thus weak against skill delay attacks
- users are harder to come by due to him being a poor starting monster compared to . This is where the Best Friend System comes in handy.
- 1 of your leaders has questionable fashion sense and is not Husbano material
- Each awakening adds 10% damage
- Every matched combo adds 25% more damage
- However, a connected 6 match deals 1.75x your base attack value while 2 separate combos is 2x base attack
- Thus you need 4.2 to “break even” (instead of matching 2 unique sets of 3 dark orbs)
The broad categories of subs to bring and their respective actives are as follows:
Single orb changers:
These subs have low cooldowns and can convert a single type of orb into light. One benefit to a fast orb changer is the ability to activate the bonus damage from your leader skill more often.
- Light Valkyrie is one of my favourite (and farmable subs) because of her quick orb change and offensive awakenings. The single and 2 light orb enhance awakenings contribute modest damage and allows your team to burst higher when used in conjunction with other actives. Furthermore, the new enhanced heal orb increases your healing or can be converted to enhanced light orbs for even more damage. Lastly, has well rounded and high base stats. The only drawbacks are a lack of and awakenings.
- Fuma is another 5-turn orb changer who converts green to light orbs. When compared to , has a single light row enhance along with lower base stats, but a very heavy emphasis on health which is greatly amplified by your leader skill . The main attraction for using over is not removing heart orbs because there will be situations where you need to deal lethal damage and heal on the same turn. Sadly, he is also lacking a awakening and his active does not combo with ‘s board change.
- L/D Hanzo is a new collab monster from the Lunar New Year event and has great potential due to his unique fire to light orb change and synergetic awakenings. He brings 1 to the party along with the unique Dragon Killer awakening that allows to deal 3x damage to dragon type enemies. His active allows him to combo beautifully with as you can remove the worthless red orbs and have a 2/3 board of light and 1/3 heal orbs. The ability to heal while dealing lethal damage is invaluable as there will be situations where you want to sweep the floor and top off your health. However, he still suffers from a lack of and low base stats.
- Pollux is a new and interesting sub as she changes heal, jammer, and poison orbs into light along with 1 turn of haste on a 7-turn cooldown. Her awakenings provide 2 , 2 , and 2 . The 2 grants you more flexible team building options as you can achieve 100% resistance with only 1 more sub. Thus adds utility and a significant increase to healing along with passive damage through . However, without any awakenings, you may feel your damage is compromised, but ‘s active removes the need to bring more board changers as she can single handedly remove the jammer and poison orbs.
- Shedar is a strange looking dragon who often goes unnoticed due to how recent he was added to the game along with the entire Mech Dragon pantheon being considered “troll” gold eggs. However, provides 2 awakenings along with an active that changes the entire top row into light orbs along with 1 turn haste on an 8-turn cooldown. This is quite powerful and can be used in conjunction with other actives to generate 2 light rows. The main downside to using is a lack of and challenging to skill up as his dungeon has only been featured once.
- Ariel may be an interesting sub for / as her active spawns 4 random light orbs. This can be used in conjunction with other actives to ensure you can make an additional row. However, is missing both a and which makes team building more challenging. Furthermore, the 3 are nice, but somewhat go to waste as you will be focusing on matching rows instead.
- Unicorn Rider deserves mentioning as she (he?) has a and along with 2 . This brings some versatility along with being able to spawn 5 hearts at random from non light and heart orbs. This can be critical as there may be times where you wish to burst down a floor, but need to heal at the same time. Not the most amazing sub, but worth mentioning. You also get to say you just killed a big bad boss with a unicorn.
- Elia is the definition of a luxury sub and is an okay choice for / because she lacks a awakening. However, does bring 2 and a awakening but in order to make her active viable, you need to have 15 successful skill ups which is nearly impossible to do for the average player. Furthermore, ‘s active changes dark to light and grants 1 turn of haste on a 7-turn cooldown when max skilled.
- Verche is essentially the poor man’s version of in that he provides a dark to light orb changer (without haste) on a 5-turn cooldown. Granted his awakenings are not ideal, but he is farmable and easy to skill up.
Double orb changers:
These subs convert 2 different orbs to light and either heart or light orbs and allows for easier matching as you are dealing with only 4 elements. It is wise to bring at least 1 of these subs as they provide power through their , actives, and some utility.
- Wukong provides 2 , 2 skill boost , 1 time extend , and 1 recover bind awakenings. One of the major weaknesses / faces are leader binds and having a as well as a heart generating active can provide a pseudo bind clear without sacrificing a key sub slot. is comparable to Da Qiao in that both fulfil the same role along with having almost identical awakenings but convert different orbs. It is better to bring 1 of each instead of duplicates of either as you may encounter orb fatigue if using the actives back to back.
- Da Qiao is another wonderful double orb changer as she can simultaneously manufacture heart and light orbs. She only differs from in that she has a instead of a which is better as you should have sufficient skill boosts to have most actives ready by turn 1. loses value as you progress through the dungeon as the benefit is only realized in the first few floors. Overall an amazing sub and should be utilized if you are lucky enough to have her.
- Apollo is another powerful double orb changer, except he converts both dark and heart orbs into light. This will ensure you can make at least 2 light rows along with providing 2 himself. also comes with 2 awakenings so you do have the option to have modest burst should you be missing enough orbs for another row. The main downsides to using are a lack of , his active removing hearts (should you need to heal and deal lethal damage), and no awakenings.
- King Arthur is a reasonable sub because of his single and 2 awakenings. The active creates a net affect of hearts to light on a longer cooldown than . The 2 awakenings provides reasonable burst, but your focus should still be rows. The main drawbacks of using are low base stats, a lack of , and a difficult to skill up active.
- Venus is probably the best sub in this category as she provides an astounding 3 awakenings along with a light orb enhancing that grants free-orb movement for 6 seconds on a 5-turn cooldown. The free movement component can be amazing for row based teams as it can sometimes be challenging to manufacture your ideal amount of rows and combos. In addition, being on a 5-turn cooldown grants another way to trigger your leader skill’s secondary component. ‘s only downside is she does not have a awakening.
- Ganesha has an active that can enhance light orbs along with providing 1 turn of damage immunity on a very long cooldown (15 turns maxed with no skill up material). However, their awakenings only provide 2 , unbindability (which can be used for damage void), and a single .
- Athena is a farmable solution to light orb enhancement and also comes with 2 awakenings. This is not as ideal as , but with one of highest base damage values in the game, can burst very high should you be unable to manufacture a row. Overall, not the greatest sub due to no or awakenings, but can serve as a placeholder for someone more ideal as she is farmable and most likely have one anyway.
Full board changers:
These subs provide another safety net to unideal boards should your be on cooldown. Furthermore, they can be used in conjunction with another orb changer to create light heavy boards that can be broken up into multiple rows.
- Apocalypse features a single and awakenings along with a full board change to light, dark, and heal along with 1 turn haste. This is very similar to as you generate light, heal, and one dead colour. Board refreshes that produce heal orbs tend to be superior as you can simultaneously heal and deal damage. Furthermore, you are most likely bringing a heart breaker so you can create a 2/3 light board and ample rows. If you are deciding between bringing a second or , you need to decide if the extra row from outweighs the benefit of a .
- Ilm is a rare 6-star godfest exclusive and provides a , , and awakenings. His full board active converts all orb to light and fire. Statistically, this should produce at least 2 light rows and on the rare occasion, 3. Do note that you cannot feasibly combo his active with another orb changer as an entire board of just light orbs will produce less damage (no extra row, combo bonus, etc.) unless you use an orb enhancer like (and then pray for skyfalls).
- Raphael has re-emerged as a mono light powerhouse with an unbelievable 5 awakenings. Furthermore, his active has been buffed to converting the entire board to heart orbs along with 2 turns of damage immunity. This immunity can be used to bypass large preemptives, execution abilities, or the Kali in Arena’s >65% health attack. However, you must bring a heart breaker to convert the board into 30 light orbs and ideally an orb enhancer (such as ) to generate damage. In addition, provides some utility through his and bind recover awakenings.
- Saria is a viable sub on her own team; however, she only has 5 awakenings and lacks a . As such, if you have another full board changer who has , it may be better to bring them if you are unable to meet the 5 required for 100% immunity.
- Superman is a rare collab pull and can convert the board into fire, water and light orbs. Unfortunately he only has 4 awakenings with a single being the standout winner. Furthermore, his active can only be comboed with who converts water orbs to light. Not that super awesome.
- Light Kali is a full board changer, but lacks a awakening and converts the board to all 5 colours. This would require you to use another active to generate at least a row’s worth of light orbs and somewhat defeats the purpose. Mostly mentioning because she does provide and as well as most players having already heavily invested in her for other teams.
- Chocobo is mostly mentioned because most long term players have acquired him for free from the Final Fantasy Collab event and he provides a large chunk of health and a board change that produces all 6 type of orbs. Not very ideal to run, but something to be aware of just in case.
- Wedding Gadius has one of the best bodies and awakenings as he provides powerful synergy with row teams along with an active that generates haste, hearts, light, dark, and fire orbs. This can be further combo-ed with other actives to form a burst heavy board.
One of the largest weaknesses for your / team is having your leaders bound. When bound, you lose your health and recovery multiplier. This causes your team to lose their durability and become very fragile to most attacks. As such, bringing a bind clearing sub is almost mandatory for pre-emptive leader binds. However, if the floor will only bind at certain health thresholds or on their first turn, it is better to bring a burst active sub to try and one shot them instead. As a general rule, bind clearing subs bring little damage to your team as they lack awakenings and their active for the most part is defensive in nature. Lastly, all the subs listed below are bind immune so you can use them to bait out specific colour binds safely.
- Awoken Sakuya is probably the best option for bind clearing as her active does double duty as a 20% gravity along with 3 turns of bind clearing. Her other actives adds small amounts of defensive utility, but her single is most important.
- Light Metatron has become a frustrating card for me as of late. This is mostly due to powercreep and the fact she is one of the oldest godfest exclusive monsters. base recovery is amazingly high, but may be somewhat overkill as your team already has 2.5x RCV. Furthermore, lacks a and no offensive awakenings. I go into more detail of why needs a rework HERE.
- Awoken Amaterasu offers 2 awakenings along with a single awakening. In addition, her active clears 4 turns of binds, recovers 40% of your maximum health (which is a very large amount on / teams), and 1 turn of haste. Granted she is on a longer cooldown than , but you are most likely only going to be using for a single floor and that haste at least adds some utility.
Shielding / damage mitigation:
In all honesty, you most likely do not need a shield as your health pool should be large enough to survive any reasonable attack.
- Indra has regained popularity as a light shielding sub who grants 75% damage reduction for 3 turns. In addition, he provides 2 , , and a extend awakening. Granted you should not require the shield as your already sizeable health pool should be sufficient, but do keep in mind you can survive the Arena Kali’s >65% health attack.
- Light Izanami will be receiving a new ultimate evolution that grants her a total of 1,500 auto-healing along with minor stat increases pushing her to just under 800 weighted stats. However, her shield is not very good value as it only reduces damage by 35% for 1 turn on a 4-turn cooldown if max skilled. Unfortunately she is challenging to skill up as she is not a guaranteed drop even on mythical.
- Ganesha has an active that can enhance light orbs along with providing 1 turn of damage immunity on a very long cooldown (15 turns maxed with no skill up material). However, their awakenings only provide 2 , unbindability (which can be used for damage void), and a single . Not really worth the sub slot, but at least worth mentioning
Gravities are coming back into style as end game bosses are starting to have gigantic health pools or the resolve/perseverance ability. By using a gravity, you can easily push a boss into a certain health percentage to bypass various mechanics. Furthermore, as you are playing a “slower” paced team, you can take your time in charging up your actives if they not be skilled up.
- Nordis is a very powerful sub due to his 2 , , and awakenings along with his 30% gravity that can be max skilled to 15 turns. However, the sheer investment required in obtaining, leveling up, evolving, and skilling up may be off-putting for most players. His rouge descend is quite challenging and it takes 10 successful skill ups to max skill. Regardless, ‘s high base stats combined with synergetic awakenings make him a valuable sub as he is the only gravity to come with . Even if you are unable to max skill, he may still be usable on a 25 turn cooldown as you are most likely only needing him for one particular floor.
- Zeus & Hera provides a staggering 45% gravity along with high base stats. Unfortunately, their awakenings are not very synergetic for a based team and their base cooldown is 38 turns. However, it is a viable option should you require a very large gravity and farming proves too challenging. Lastly, they do not provide a awakening.
- Hathor has received a powerful new ultimate evolution that grants her 4 awakenings along with a and . By having 4 awakenings, you have an 80% chance for every light orb to spawn with a plus and this will dramatically boost your damage output. In terms of gravity, provides 25% on a 13 turn cooldown when max skilled.
- Awoken Sakuya offers the most utility of any bind clearer as she can play double duty as a bind clearer with both her active and awakening. Furthermore, she is also bind immune and is on a 10 turn cooldown. active provides 20% gravity along with 3 turns of bind removal. This double dipping provides a safety net no other sub can provide in terms of offensive and defensive potential.
Niche / situational subs:
These subs have harder to define roles, but may come in handy under the right situation.
- Baal has questionable artwork, but his newest evolution provides an amazing 3 along with unbindability, , and 2 awakenings. From an awakenings point of view, he looks amazing; however, I am placing him into the niche role due to his active being problematic. When max skilled (8 turns), it provides light counter attack damage for 3 turns along with converting water orbs to light orbs. The counter-attack can prove to be invaluable as it will allow you to kill a boss with perseverance should you be able to survive their 1% damaging ability. However, skilling him up is a challenge as he requires 10 successful attempts and his skill up fodder takes a lot of effort to evolve or farm. Until his active is reworked or a more feasible method is available, he will be outclassed by other subs. Lastly, he can fulfil the dark sub requirement in all attribute dungeons.
- Fuu is regulated to niche sub section as her active requires additional help through a heart breaker to deal damage. Awakening-wise, a single , , and add modest utility and some damage. If ‘s active was able to manufacture heart orbs, she would be significantly better.
- Awoken Ra deserves mentioning for his unique active that allows him to deal 77,777 fixed damage to all enemies regardless of their element or defence. This can be used to bypass floors that would have otherwise required a large amount of burst damage. In addition, his active provides 3 bonus seconds of orb movement time and this can be used to overwrite time delay abilities as your buff will erase the debuff. However, offers little in the way of offensive awakenings and his unbindability, , , 2 , and is all he can offer otherwise.
If you feel I missed any sub or overlooked a potential strength or weakness, please comment below and I can adjust accordingly.
Team building for / generally revolves around maximizing your awakenings along with orb changers, dungeon mechanics, and adjusting your skill lock resistance accordingly. Keeping this in mind, there is no “perfect” team that can clear all the current content and needs to be fluid and dynamic to adjust to new challenges. One of the key benefits to playing a 2x HP / 14.06x ATK / 2.5x RCV team is your inherit tankiness and ability to stall on what would normally be dangerous floors. This grants you flexibility with subs as you may be able to grind it out instead. However, a large part of your damage multiplier is tied to using an active and it may be beneficial to try and bring 1 sub who has a 5 turn cooldown to more readily proc your full multiplier. When deciding if you need to bring a bind clearing sub, you need to determine the nature of the binds: is it a preemptive, are you capable of stalling it out, and is it possible to burst through the floor and thus bypass the bind? As a general rule, bind clearing subs lack damage output so it may be advisable to bring a burst oriented sub instead if the bind only occurs at certain health percentages. Furthermore, binds on your subs are usually not as important and it is only when your leaders are bound that danger arises due to losing your tankiness.
/ teams play differently than rainbow burst teams as your damage is strongly tied to active usage. As such, you are going to have to stall periodically throughout the descend in order to unleash your explosive damage. You should always enter endless corridors to test your damage output (with a 1, 2, or 3 rows matched) to give yourself a relative idea of how much damage you can deal when using an active and without. This is important because you may need to stall on a floor to acquire 6+ light orbs to trigger your awakenings. Being damage focused requires a different strategy for matching as it may seem “easy” at first glance. However it is quite challenging to safely manufacture multiple rows and ideally combos alongside. It will take practice in finding the best way to break up your rows because if they connect, you lose the additional bonus. This is where careful active usage and comes into play as ways to ease your matching.
In addition, you should determine your base recovery (how much healed when matching 3 heart orbs) as each subsequent combo adds 25% healing. For example, 6,000 base recovery will heal 12,000 HP when matching those 3 hearts and 4 additional combos (5 in total). You will need to stall throughout the dungeon and this information helps you determine if an active is needed. Also, try to make a tentative plan and mental note of which floors you want to use actives. This provides some guideline to your usage and helps you plan out your team composition and awakenings accordingly. When determining how much skill lock resist you should try to achieve, you need to determine how dangerous having your skills locked is. Can you stall through the binding floor without actives? If the answer is yes, you may not have to alter your subs if it hinders your performance on other floors. The same can be applied to monster binds: if the bind does not target your leaders, feel free to just stall it out instead of gimping your team with a bind clearing sub. In addition, many teams will run or who have awakenings and heart generating actives.
You also have to get into the mindset that you are not going to enter a descend guns blazing and sweep every floor. Stalling is key to success and is a challenge in itself. Thankfully, it is almost impossible to trigger a match along your damage being suppressed by the active usage clause. Therefore, just focus on healing and do not worry if light orbs are matched as they will do very little damage.
Best of luck in your Saira Thor adventures and Happy Puzzling!