I have played an excessive amount of Arena 3 and, I have over 130 clears along with 43 Radar Dragons at the time of this posting. Arena 3 is by no means an easy dungeon, but with more end game teams available and half stamina cost, more players are able to start their journey.
This post will cover the general strategies when approaching Arena 3, but will not cover specific teams. If you wish to view all the teams I have used to clear Arena 3 and their respective inherits and latents, feels free to check out my previous guide HERE.
When entering Arena 3, you will have to accept the fact that you will not have a 100% chance to win as any number of deadly spawn combinations along with certain Radar Dragons will counter various teams. You can do your best to mitigate the risk through fully invest cards, research, experience, and coop.
—video goes here—
Background on Arena 1 & 2
Ultimate Arena (Bipolar Goddess) is designed to be the final test of a player’s skill. The first incarnation, Arena 1, was a hellish 21 floor dungeon that featured a 30 million HP boss at the end along with each floor drawing from a pool of random spawns to cause even more heartache and randomness. It is the randomness that keeps Arena exciting as you will always have a different path leading into the final floors and makes it harder to counter every single mechanic that could appear. Over time, Arena 1 became significantly easier with the advent of Powercreep, Coop, and Skill Inheritance. As such, many players (including myself) have began to use it as a fun way to dump stamina and acquire Py along with using more niche leaders to up the excitement factor.
Soon after, GungHo released Arena 2 which was slightly rearranged to remove the easier spawns and to also include some new bosses that are incredibly dangerous and lethal to certain teams. Furthermore, with the introduction of a PreDRA floor, players were forced to bring either a true damage or poison active. The key to clearing Arena 2 was a healthy mixture of offensive capabilities combined with survivability and utility. It is also a great way to “practice” for Arena 3 as the spawns are quite similar and it is mostly an increased amount of damage/health from the bosses that differ between the two difficulties.
Presently, most players regularly clear Arena 1 in order to capitalize on the permanent 2x experience that arguably makes it more viable than farming certain skill up fodder.
Arena 3 is structured almost the same as Arena 2 with the inclusion of an easy Tan floor and the Radar Dragons on floor 23. The Radar Dragons are the true bosses of the dungeon and have the scariest mechanics, largest health pools, and spell certain death for most teams. You have to go in with the mindset that certain Radar Dragons will kill you and you simply have to pray that you do not encounter those. Different leaders will have an easier time against certain Radar Dragons and may have to use multiple teams to eventually clear all of them.
I strongly advise you to have a fully developed team before entering as it will improve your chances of success.
There is not too much to say when going through the first 11 floors outside of the Latent Tamadra as they are relatively straightforward and I like to liberally use my actives. For the Tamadra floor, you need to be aware of the 3 turn skill delay along with 5 million defense and 30k+ hit per turn. However, once you reach floor 12, you should begin to recharge all your actives as the Celestial does not have any funky mechanics and simply hit for 14,534 every turn.
After you kill the Celestial, you will be faced with two random coloured PreDRAs. You will either have to use true damage, poison, delay, or sheer burst damage to kill them.
Of the four options, true damage is the least ideal as it has trivial value moving forward in the dungeon. Poison at least allows you to gain an extra turn and set up the board along with preventing Parvati from spawning jammers. A delay can be invaluable towards the end of the dungeon and makes floor 21 or Vishnu significantly easier. Finally, using burst damage is powerful as it does not occupy any additional active slots, but will leave you somewhat vulnerable for the next few floors as you will have fewer actives available.
You should have all your actives up at this point (outside of your PreDRA killing active(s)). Make sure you remove all Jammers prior to floor 18 in case you encounter Lakshmi. If you are forced to use an active, try to find a safe place to stall again if possible as the last few floors are very unforgiving.
If playing in coop, use your subs in the earlier floors, then leaders afterwards. This way, all your actives should be closer to ready by floor 20. With that being said, do not be afraid to an active if it would otherwise result in your death. There is nothing worse than dying with actives to spare.
Out of these floors, Vishnu, Shiva, Ilfive, and Ilsix tend to be the most challenging encounters.
You ideally want to have actives ready going into floor 22 and the subsequent floors.
Parvati & Vishnu
Helpful for those who are contemplating how to handle these absorbs
This is the final floor before the Radar Dragons and depending on who you encounter, it can mean an easier time with minimal active usage or one that may require more intervention.
Beelzebub is probably the worst spawn for every team as you MUST use an active of some sort to remove the poison orbs. If things go badly, you may require another one due to a poorly RNG-ed board. It is possible, albeit challenging to stall on Beelzebub unless you have the heart skyfalls from Vishnu.
Athena has the most health of any of the the three spawns (10 million HP) so depending on your team, you may require an active if going for a one shot. However, you can safely chip her down as she will throw up a status void shield when below 90%. You can use this as either a way to gain a turn to stall or save an active as you can more easily two-shot her. Do note that light based teams are very likely to gain additional light orbs from her Shining Spear ability.
Divine Queen Hera is generally the easiest spawn for most teams once you survive the large preemptive. She will constantly change your light orbs into jammers and it is possible to stall here for a long period of time.
Reaching floor 22 is manageable for most teams; however, the challenge lies in having as many actives available for the Radar Dragon and having an appropriate set up to successfully kill them and the subsequent Kali afterwards.
Radar Dragons on floor 23
There are five possible Radar Dragons on floor 23 and you have to go in with the mindset that your team will be favoured against certain ones while most likely dying to others.
Provided your team can deal with the respective Radar Dragon spawn, you still need to have careful planning and as many actives available.
Damage voids differ from absorbs as the damage is simply reduced to 0 when bypassing the threshold. Absorbs will heal all damage dealt above the threshold and is far more dangerous by comparison.
50% resolve (+50% HP heal)
15 turn skill delay Preemptive
Half damage from water
Will kill you on turn 6 (or earlier)
Hephaestus Dragon is arguably the scariest spawn in Arena 3 and is generally the hardes to clear in solo due to the 15 turn skill delay preemptive. At least in coop, your partner’s subs will still have their actives and this is crucial because he will execute your team after a few turns as his damage ramps up to 425,012 on the 6th turn. This means you have to kill him beforehand and is challenging to do as he boasts 78 million HP. For myself and Myr teams, this is the most challenging as she has “low” damage and is heavily reliant on actives to hit bigger numbers as you require at least 6 light orbs for a row and 5 hearts for a cross (which will still not deal large amounts of damage).
The best strategy you can employ when facing Hephaestus Dragon is skills inherited on your leaders and subs (provided their base active is useful) along with skill delay resist latents. However, this may not be practical for everyone and the more budget friendly strategy is having one player have the burst combo actives on their subs. In this case, that would mean having Mantastic sweep floor 22 (to have his skills delayed) and having Fantastic retain all their sub actives (biggest burst is Saria + Wedding Akechi) and pray you kill him before execution.
Voids over 5M damage for 99 turns
Absorbs 2 random colours every turn
Binds 1 sub for 1 turn
Hits for 17,013
Deals one attack of lethal damage when under 90%, 75%, and 50%
Dangerous when <50% HP as mechanics change
5 turn skill delay when <50%
Execution under 30%
Noah Dragon is the easiest Dragon to stall on and allows you to easily recharge any active as they only hit for 17,013 damage per turn. If you are playing a heart-cross leader, you can form your damage reduction cross every other turn and easily survive. The damage absorption can be frustrating and when combined with a 5M+ void and the safest strategy is to simply wait out the 99 turn 5M void and then giant burst when your colours are not being absorbed and a favourable card is not bound. If this is your first time, I would strongly recommend you do this strategy as if is safer, albeit somewhat boring.
However, many players are impatient and wish to find ways to avoid stalling for a small eternity. I have done both avenues, and going for a premature kill is only wise if you are very well aware of your damage output and trust your ability to hit under 5 million per card. The gist is knocking Noah Dragon to as close, but above 50% to avoid the delay. Then you wait for a favourable colour absorb and non-important sub bound. You still have to be careful, but it is better to deal too much damage than not enough as overkill results in a void and no movement of the boss’s HP. Knocking below 50% is possibly, but it will trigger a 5 turn active skill delay and cause them to switch to a 17k hit, 1 sub bind (+5,671 hit), and then a 99% cut every turn. Very unpleasant, but doable with a heart cross team or those who can heal tremendous amounts of HP. At this point, you wish to kill them as soon as possible. At 30% HP, Noah Dragon has around 10.3 million HP and gives you plenty of room to hit under 5 million per monster.
You also have to keep in mind the additional damage from the various Judgement attacks that occur at <90%, <75%, <50%, <30% as these hit significantly harder, but only occur once when passing each threshold. This also means you can have the <90% and <75% back to back so use damage mitigation accordingly.
For more advanced/confident players, Noah Dragon is able to be killed in two turns. On the first turn, you try to deal as much damage as possible and then use your burst actives when the 75% shield is up. Ideally, you would have pushed Noah Dragon to around 30% HP on the first turn as you only have to deal with the 90% First Judgement.
Killing Noah Dragon before the damage absorb wears off.
—Noah Dragon video—-
I kindly skipped the 95 turns of stalling beforehand
Voids over 6M damage
75% damage reduction for 7 turns
Will do two 68k hits during this time
Makes Jammers/skips turn otherwise
7th turn causes board to go dark and 75% reduction drops off
If above 50% HP, absorbs 2 colours for three turns (each colour has 40% chance)
When above 50% HP, 25k hit and 3-5 turn skill delay, repeatedly
Under 50% will result in a -500% gravity. Used once
31-50% causes blind or orb lock
20-30% cause 5 turn sub bind or 10% boss heal
Execution under 20%
Gaia Dragon is a nightmare for many different teams. The first 7 turns are trivial for heart-cross leaders (or teams with over 68,255 HP) and allows you to somewhat stall for actives during their 75% damage reduction phase. However, they become the worst possible monster if your team does not have full 5 SDR latents on each card. There is a certain amount of gambling involved with Gaia Dragon as they have a 40% chance to absorb your primary colour and then have you stuck in the permanent skill delay cycle. It is possible, albeit very difficult to push them below 50% during their damage reduction phase, but that means dealing 80 million damage. However you will receive a -500% Gravity if below 50%.
All of this makes Gaia seem impossible unless you feel lucky with the colour absorb and are able to kill right away in one go. Thus, I have found the most effective strategy is to actually kill during the 75% damage reduction phase or leave it at low health during the blind attack to solve in the dark and kill as you will be dealing full damage.
In order to successfully implement this strategy, you will need bring heavy orb changers and burst active abilities. You do not have to one shot or even kill within 7 turns, but instead try and push it as much as possible and kill in the dark after the 75% wears off. Gaia Dragon will always do the same 7 skill for the first 7 turns so you know exactly what will occur. That means there will not be any Grand Ray attack or any other ability during this time.
Remeber, Gaia Dragon voids all damage above 6 million, but with the 75% reduction shield, you have to hit 24 million to be absorbed.
An important thing to note is that you can set up your board prior to it going dark to better match in the dark (eg. placing all your orbs at the bottom to form a row when using a specific orb changer).
Gaia Dragon follows a specific rotation for her first seven turns:
- Turn 1: make 3 jammers
- Turn 2: charges up (no damage)
- Turn 3: hits you for 68k
- Turn 4: make 3 jammers
- Turn 5: charges up (no damage)
- Turn 6: hits you for 68k
- Turn 7: board goes dark BUT 75% shield drops off at same time
Sample videos of Gaia Dragon:
Voids over 20M damage
Execution at >90% and <20%
Abilities vary according to boss HP percentage (new ability every 10%)
Relatively easy to stall between 30-40% as he only spawns Poison and Hearts
Zeus Dragon is all around, the easiest Radar Dragon spawn for the average team. This is because he does not have any crazy mechanics and his main hurdle is a large amount of HP (with a 20M+ void). His abilities are dangerous, but you can somewhat control which one he does by modifying your damage and knocking him into a favourable zone. Which zone is best for you depends on your team and how much you need to stall. For a heart cross team or those with exceptionally high RCV, his poison + heart generation from 30-40% is the safest to stall on. Just match your cross and as many other heart orbs as possible. However, you have to be careful as he will become very dangerous at 20-30% and his execution is <20%.
Stalling in the poison zone is dangerous if you do not play a heart cross leader or a team with defensive multipliers.
The key to defeating Zeus Dragon is understanding your damage output and pushing him into a “safe zone.” It is possible to one shot Zeus Dragon, albeit unlikely as you have to come close to the 20M damage per card without going under 20% if you cannot make 8 combos afterwards. Naturally, you want to avoid the heart breaking ability between 50-60% as he will constantly remove your heart orbs.
Generally speaking, the safest strategy is to push Zeus Dragon to as close to 50% (without going under) and then using your burst combo to kill. The following video showcases a clean 2 turn kill (just skip to around 36 minutes):
—–zeus video goes here—-
This was my second ever Arena 3 clear where I was quite lost on what to do so it may be helpful to watch as it is a lot more stressful and shows many of the damage zones. Zeus Dragon starts at 25:59
Absorbs over 2M damage
Deals 86k damage on turn 2. Damage increases and alternates until you die
After every damaging attack, you are given a free turn where she heals you to full health
Hera Dragon is another race against time encounter as she will execute you on her 12th turn. However, to complicate matters further, she starts by dealing 86k and ramping up to 181k prior to execution. This is certain doom for non-heart cross leaders as you will not be able to tank her various attacks (with actives) for very long as he alternates between damage and heal. In addition, you cannot deal more than 2 million damage per monster or you may heal her and erase all the hard work you did.
Hera Dragon is still manageable for non-heart cross teams as you can bring two different damage mitigation actives. You also can take a break every other turn as she will skip a turn/heal you to full health. The key is damage control and no skyfalls at the wrong time.
2 million absorb = 1 million light damage. Skyfalls are not my friend
After the nightmare that is the Radar Dragons, you finally reach the Kalis! They have a mere 37,408,889 HP and have the same abilities as they did in the previous Arenas. All the has changed is increasing their damage output. You should always try to have a burst active ready to ensure you knock them below 65% to avoid their 150k+ attack. If your team is capable of surviving the 150k hit, it is best to do so on the first turn to wait out the 50% damage reduction shield. You then have an easier time pushing her below 65% on turn two.
The 3 Py on the final floor have 0 mechanics, 6M defense, 24 HP, and hit for 7707 every turn. It would be embarrassing to die to them after overcoming such struggles. For heart cross leaders, your damage and shield carry over due to no preemptive.
Arena 3 is the most challenging dungeon in Puzzle and Dragons. It has some of the scariest encounters in a randomized manner that makes it more difficult to team build and counter. To make matters worse, the Radar Dragons are not a guaranteed drop and certain ones will kill even the most seasoned players. You sometimes have to go in with the mindset that you have less than 100% chance of clearing and have to be prepared for the worst appearances.
Hopefully your Arena adventures go smoothly. Let me know who you use to tackle the Bipolar Goddesses.