Hermes is one of the oldest monsters in Puzzle and Dragons and was my starter for Fantastic. He was once heralded as a powerful leader, but has lost his edge over time. However, with the release of his Awoken evolution, Hermes once again has leadership potential. In addition, with the awakenings buff, his B/L form has regained popularity and power. We are now faced with a challenging decision of which Hermes evolution is best for our monster box.
At a glance
Awoken Hermes is the clear winner when it comes to base stats, active skill, and leader skill. Even with very low HP, this can be easily compensated through the numerous physical, HP heavy water monsters and the exceptionally high RCV will be greatly appreciated. The skyfall mechanic can be invaluable as it does increase your chances of additional water matches, but can also be used to override other colour debuffs caused by various bosses.
When played as a leader, Awoken Hermes forms a powerful 4x HP / 16x ATK team when matching both water and fire orbs. This is great as you can survive essentially any attack in the game, but has constraints in your sub selection for fire orb generation. You are unable to use Andromeda along with any board changer except for Mori and Summer Urd . Your other option for fire and water orb generation is Merlin Rider who converts hearts to fire and fire to water. You can focus on either TPA matches for picking off easy floors/going fast, or capitalizing on row enhances for giant burst damage. Lastly, you have the option of pairing with Awoken I&I should you wish to have augmented recovery. However, the best pairing possible is with Awoken Sun Quan . This will allow you to form a 2x HP / 48x ATK / 2x RCV team when you match water and fire orbs along with using an active. The active skill clause can be problematic, but can excel in short dungeons or in coop.
When used as a sub, Awoken Hermes is a powerful choice on numerous teams except for Blue Sonia and Neptune Dragon as he lacks both Physical and God typing. If you plan to use either Blue Sonia or Neptune Dragon teams, you should not make Awoken Hermes. One popular topic of debate is his viability on Sarasvati teams as both provide the skyfall buff. It is true that dual Sarasvati leaders can maintain 100% uptime on the skyfall buff, but I have found that I am not always using Sarasvati on cooldown as I sometimes save or use her prematurely to correct poor board changers. As such, Awoken Hermes can be used to fill the gaps.
Finally, you should also consider the skill up requirements as Awoken has to use Bubpys while his other two forms can be easily done with Super Kings.
B/D Hermes was once the strongest evolution choice for Hermes, but with the advent of awakenings buff and Awoken form, B/D has lost his reign. His god typing means he can fully benefit from Neptune Dragon ‘s leader skill and the 3 water row awakenings add massive damage. However, his viability has greatly diminished as both B/L Hermes or Awoken Hermes better fulfills their role. Comparing to B/L, you are trading a row enhance and TPA for a devil killer awakening and physical typing (to be used on Blonia teams) and a significant amount of HP. The HP is more important on virtually any team team as that would allow you to survive an extra hit and the loss of TPA is negligible on row based teams teams. If you were wanting to utilize a TPA oriented team, Awoken Hermes is the better choice due to superior stats and active.
On the bright side, B/D has the best artwork of the three evolution paths.
B/L Hermes has been transformed from a lackluster sub into an incredible powerhouse with the awakenings buff that granted him an extra row and devil killer awakenings. These additional awakenings make him stronger than B/D Hermes as he can be used on more teams along with the devil killer allowing him to deal 3x more damage to devil type bosses (which are quite common).
Furthermore, many high end water row teams will want to run multiple Hermes (Hermi?) because the active is so powerful as it floods the board with water orbs and can be used in conjunction with any tri-colour board changer to form a 2/3 water board. Lastly, the most important aspect of the physical typing allows B/L to be used on Blonia teams to great success.
I want to stress that the significantly larger health from B/L can allow you to survive attacks you may not normally be able to or providing an extra cushion for error.
Awoken or B/L?
This is a challenging question to answer as both are viable options on a variety of teams. I have both evolutions on Mantastic and I interchange between the two based on the situation. On my Sarasvati team, I have used both for various dungeons and my decision is based on a few factors:
- My HP requirements
- The need for Devil Killer
- Do I need the additional Skyfalls
- Is TPA or Orb Enhances going to help?
If my team needs the HP or can greatly benefit from the Devil Killer, I choose B/L. However, in longer dungeons, I will tend to choose Awoken Hermes as I can stagger my Sarasvati actives to better combo with board changers or other actives. For example, in Arena 2, I use my Awoken Hermes as it is 22 floors and gaining the additional skyfall has proven helpful.
Awoken and B/L are the two most viable options for Hermes. Awoken should be used if you want to have leadership potential, build a around a water TPA team, or benefit from the additional skyfall buff. B/L is used on Neptune Dragon and Blue Sonia teams as Awoken lacks their required typings along with having superior HP and Devil Killer.
- He is outclassed by B/L because the loss of a single row is outweighed by the significantly larger HP and Devil Killer awakening. Most water teams are row based so his TPA goes largely to waste while the extra HP allows you to survive larger hits which is important on a teams without a health multiplier
- On most other teams, Awoken is the optimal choice due to the heavier RCV stats, awakenings, and active. RCV is one of the most important stats as it allows you to restore your health after surviving an attack while the skyfall buff can allow you to save actives.
B/D may be stronger than either option in a few cases, but will never be the best choice in any scenario.
Let me know which evolution path you will be choosing.