The December 20th maintenance comes with new evolutions, buffs to various cards, and improvements to existing dungeons. This article will summarize all the major changes and help provide insight on their impact in Puzzle and Dragons.
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New evolutions are some of the most exciting aspects of Puzzle and Dragons as it breathes new life into old cards. Despite the need for Powercreep in any longstanding game, GungHo does a good job of recycling old cards back into the meta instead of only releasing new monsters.
In the case of Reincarnated evolutions, they should be chosen in the vast majority of situations as it is a tremendous boost in power due to the 1,000 weighted stats, triple typing, and improved leader skill. The only time you would not proceed with a Reincarnated evolution is if you are lacking the monster experience to re-max level them (16 million) or require the specific elemental coverage. You can read more about the Reincarnated process HERE.
Tsubaki is the third GFE to come to North America with a split evolution. The split evolution provides players with two distinct choices: a more leader oriented Tsubaki or one that is pushed into a sub role. Tsubaki’s original ultimate evolution provides a leadership role as she is able to form a 76.56x ATK / 2.25x RCV team that is centered around matching 5o1e.
This is still a powerful option, but had less applications when used as a sub. Thus, Dragon-Killer Tsubaki provides players with an evolution that has better stats and two Dragon Killer awakenings at the cost of a lesser leader skill, no sub element, and no enhanced heal or light orbs. She also gains a second Skill Boost and this was one of the Tsubaki system’s largest weaknesses as they struggled to have actives ready by turn 1.
Two Dragon Killers enables Tsubaki to deal 9x damage to dragon bosses and this is somewhat overkill. For example, on a Krishna team (who has 45x ATK), Dragon-Killer Tsubaki will deal 405x ATK to Dark Kali in Arena. This may not be practical in every day content, but enables you to be able to casually farm dragon-heavy dungeons.
As a bit of history, Awoken Hino was one of the few cards to receive three TPA awakenings and made him one of the hardest hitting cards in the game. This title was somewhat lost due to Powercreep and newer cards receiving similar benefits. However, with his Reincarnated form, Hino will once again be able to deal spectacular damage. Despite the fact that Hino has “only” 1,960 attack, he will be able to deal amazing damage with each connected four match.
This has wonderful applications on Reincarnated Shiva teams where TPA matches are encouraged. However, his Reincarnated form provides a unique twist on his original leader skill as Hino now has a base multiplier alongside his fixed damage component after matching orbs. Reincarnated Hino’s leader skill now provides 3x ATK when matching Fire and Dark orbs along with 1.5x RCV. This may not be the highest multiplier, but can be effectively paired with Reincarnated Shiva to form a 21x ATK / 3x RCV team that can kill any resolve boss. The resolve killer aspect occurs due to an additional amount of damage being dealt after your regular attacks hit the boss down to 1 HP.
You may instinctively pair Reincarnated Hino with fire leaders, but due to the semi rainbow component, you can pair with high end multiplier cards. For instance, you could pair with Ra Dragon for a much higher damage ceiling.
Reincarnated Ra gives new value to one of the staples of a push-button sub as he is reborn as a powerful leader. Reincarnated Ra is now able to provide 225x ATK / 4x RCV when matching Fire, Water, Wood, Light, and Dark for Devil and God types when using an active skill. If no active skill is used, you are still able to achieve 25x ATK and 4x RCV when matching your five elements. This also means you are unable to heal without dealing damage and that can be problematic as stalling becomes challenging.
Reincarnated Ra is unique and awkward in that manner as he is unable to efficiently stall and is forced to use an active skill to deal enough damage to sweep a floor. This makes him more suitable for dungeons that can be carefully planned as you will have to budget a specific active accordingly. We have already seen the power/potential of the Machine Zeus carry team that used Awoken Ra and with his Reincarnated form, you will have a larger margin for error as your damage is significantly higher.
With all that in mind, Reincarnated Ra will be a powerful leader, but will still have constraints when playing a variety of dungeons as you require careful planning with actives to successfully sweep a floor.
Reincarnated Venus also joins the 1,000 weighted stat club, but her shining feature is the single highest recovery value in the game. At max level, she is able to reach 1,035 RCV and provides a massive boost to healing to every team she is used on. Presently, Venus is a stellar sub on mono-light teams due to her wonderful body, synergistic awakenings, and low base cooldown active. All of this still applies to Reincarnated Venus and the swap from water to light sub attribute is beneficial as you are dealing more damage when stacking light orbs.
Stepping outside of her sub role, Reincarnated Venus is able to provide 6x ATK with 2 light combos along with 75% damage reduction from light bosses. This translates into 36x ATK and 93.75% damage reduction from light enemies. This essentially makes your team impossible to kill provided your leaders are not bound and allows you to “cheese” your way through certain high-end content. Unfortunately, you do not have access to a Puppeteer ( ) in order to convert every floor into Light and will restrict you to a few specific dungeons.
Reincarnated Hades has some of the best artwork in the game and has the fourth highest base attack along with dual TPA awakenings. Despite all that, Hades still does not have an ideal home due to his situationally useful active. Unlike Venus, Hades cannot be easily inherited over as his base cooldown is 12 turns and there are few scenarios that require a 25% gravity and +5 seconds to orb movement time for 5 turns. With that being said, Hades is one of the few inheritable gravities available and can be used to help bypass various resolve floors.
However, Reincarnated Hades has strong leadership potential as he has 36x ATK and 93.75% damage reduction to dark bosses. This can allow you to easily overcome dark encounters along with having wonderful synergy with the dual gravities to help make the floors go faster. Unfortunately, there is no monster currently available that can transform the boss into a dark element and Hades has a vulnerability to binds.
Changes to existing dungeons
Arena 1, 2, & 3
All the Arena difficulties now grant double the amount of rank experience along with Arena 3 costing only 99 stamina (50 in coop). This is wonderful for players who farm Arena for Pys or Radar Dragons as you can now rank up twice as fast and continue playing. In fact, for Arena 3, it is now 4x as efficient to run due to the half stamina and double rank experience (about 400k rank experience for 50 stamina in coop). This also means I will be further expanding my clears to different leaders as it is less punishing for a failed run.
If anyone is interested in various Arena 3 clears, feel free to check out my Twitch Stream as I probably have around 100 clears using a combination of Myr , Krishna , Lakshmi , and Umisachi & Yamasachi .
Ultimate Descend Rush
Ultimate Descend Rush now has a new difficulty level that promises even more headaches as it is a random combination of the hardest boss spawns in the game with augmented stats. The rewards are not worth the effort and is mostly a dungeon that grants a stone along with a sense of accomplishment. The new difficulty level will now grant an additional Magic Stone for players who have already completed the previous one prior to the maintenance.
New technical dungeon
Legendary Remains will be a new technical dungeon available and has the new Bomb Orb mechanic. GungHo recommends you remove them right away as it would be dangerous to leave them on the board.
I will be doing a subsequent post/video clear for this dungeon on my next Twitch Stream.
Final Fantasy buffs go live
The previously announced Final Fantasy buffs have finally gone live for North America. You can read about all the changes HERE.
Wood Snow Globe buff
Wood Snow Globes have now been buffed to provide significantly more monster experience. This if Fantastic for the most part, but we will still be sinking numerous Snow Globes into the new Reincarnated evolutions as they require 16 million experience.
As a word of caution, you should resist the urge to fuse dark Snow Globes for the time being as they will be buffed in what I presume to be 3-4 weeks.
The December 20th update comes with the highly anticipated overhaul of Arena. Being able to gain double the rank experience (4x for Arena 3) is amazing as it will allow players to continuously rank up while farming for skill ups. In addition, the new Evolutions add an extra layer of dimension to those respective cards and are worth pursuing.
Which aspect are you most excited about?