Do not nuke your Monster Box for 750,000 MP to buy Dark Athena. She will be a permanent addition to the MP shop
Dark Athena has been a long anticipated card that was up until this point only available in JP; however, NA/EU will finally be able to purchase her for 750,000 MP starting May 1st. This is a tremendous stepping stone as we are actually able to acquire a Radar card when PAD Radar is not available in our regions. Regardless, the question within the community will transition from is she coming to “Should I buy Dark Athena?” This is a loaded question as she does cost 750,000 MP and you should carefully weigh the pros and cons along with actually having a viable team to use her.
I did write extensively about her in a previous posting, but will create a new one based on the new cards that have been released since her debut in JP. However, there will be some overlap between the two but I have added in a much needed team building section.
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Solo Arena 3 clear
She is so forgiving I can make mistakes:
Screenshot from my first clear:
Dark Athena at a glance
Enhance all water & dark orbs
3 turn delay
11 turn Cooldown
1.5x HP & 3.5x ATK for God, Devil, and Attacker cards. 2x ATK & 2x RCV when matching Dark and Water orbs
2.25x HP / 49x ATK / 4x RCV
Dark Athena may look lackluster from a purely multiplier perspective; however, she is actually one of the strongest cards/leaders in the game. There are many factors that go into consideration when trying to determine what makes a strong leader, and Dark Athena covers almost all of them.
Dark Athena has one of the most unconditional leader skills which dramatically raises her consistency and speed when playing through both challenging and easy content. Simply having to match a single water and dark combo for 49x is trivial compared to the shenanigans other leads require. This ease of activation enables you to flood the board with dark orbs in order to better take advantage of Dark Athena’s three TPA awakenings. Furthermore, with the introduction of the 7 combo awakening, Dark Athena has even more burst potential as she can run duplicate Hakus to great success.
In addition to the ease of access to damage, Dark Athena is also able to form a durable team through her 2.25x HP and 4x RCV when matching dark and water orbs. The health multiplier is important as this will allow you to easily tank any preemptive and many execution hits in the game. While 4x RCV is amazing and will allow you to essentially heal to full HP, it does come with the restriction of matching both a dark and water combo. This can be problematic as you will be triggering your 49x ATK multiplier. This means it may be challenging to actually stall on a floor as 49x is a respectable amount of damage and matching non-TPA can only do so much. Thankfully, with such a large HP pool, you should be able to withstand several consecutive hits without healing. Finally, you should also keep in mind Dark Athena is bind immune so you will always have access to these defensive multipliers.
In addition to all of these benefits, Dark Athena has amazing team building flexibility as she can use almost all of the top-tier dark subs provided they do not remove water orbs. Putting all of this together makes a stellar lead; however, I want to stress how fast Dark Athena can clear content. Being consistent is great, but being consistent and fast is amazing as you tend to repeatedly play the same dungeon over and over again.
One last point to consider is that Dark Athena comes ready to use. She has no evolution requirement along with a gentler experience curve when compared to the other MP cards. This is somewhat offset by the 750,000 price tag.
Dark Athena compared to other MP cards
It is well established the Ra Dragon is an amazing leader with Yomi Dragon acting as both a stellar leader and sub. In all honesty, these two should be your primary goals for using MP if Dark Athena is inappropriate to your monster box as the rest are nice, but will probably not help you push further into endgame content.
Ragnarok Dragon is still a powerful sub, but his main problem is the faltering of his ideal homes as those teams are not keeping abreast with the current meta. Odin Dragon can form a powerful colour cross team, but is pretty much comparable to Light Metatron and horribly outclassed by Aizen
Shiva Dragon is wonderful at fast farming medium content (especially in solo mode), but this should be viewed more as a luxury as his clearing potential is lower than Odin Dragon. On the other hand, Neptune Dragon is clumsy to activate as he is far too orb hungry and does not really excel in any department.
All of the above points may sound overtly critical, but I strongly believe that Monster Point cards should offer something above and beyond the norm. In an ideal world, you want to the purchase to dramatically push your progression potential by leaps and bounds. You can read a more in-depth analysis through my MP card Tier list post that can be found HERE.
750k Monster Points
Keeping all of the above points in mind, is Dark Athena really worth 750,000 Monster Points? She costs 2.5x more than a regular MP card (300,000 MP) and would need to provide an immense amount of value to justify this somewhat outrageous cost.
If we look at the top 2 MP cards, Ra and Yomi Dragon, they both provide tremendous value if you can actually utilize them. Ra Dragon requires a very specific team to succeed and is impractical for the average player to assemble. On the other hand, Yomi Dragon’s new evolution helps solidify their position as a stellar dark sub and a fast and easy to use 81x ATK / 4x RCV lead. However, she still suffers from a lack of HP and may rely largely on coop to be successful.
Taking all of that into consideration, not everyone can find value through those two cards as their monster box may be lacking in certain aspects. Thus, Dark Athena may be more appealing as she can be immediately used by any ranking player regardless of their content progression. In addition, she has a largely open sub pool as she can utilize nearly every strong card in the game.
In addition, Dark Athena is able to lead a powerful solo team that can clear Arena 3 with relatively high consistency. Thus, you will be immediately gaining an end game leader right from the get-go.
One last point to consider is that trying to build the ideal Ra Dragon team (with inherits etc.) will probably end up costing more magic stones compared to the difference in 450k MP. Very few players are able to form the perfect team and most never will. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of attempting end game content with Dark Athena as you can use nearly any dark card in the game.
Points to consider
Before considering a purchase, you need to cut through the hype and actually examine if you can feasibly run a Dark Athena team before dumping 750,000 Monster Points.
Important points to consider:
- Do you actually have 4 dark cards that do not remove water orbs?
- Of those cards, how many are TPA oriented?
- Do you have a double SBR card for solo mode?
- How many Hakus do you own?
- Do you have ideal inherits? (discussed below)
- Will Dark Athena advance my progression overall?
Puzzle and Dragons has advanced to the point where your goal is to farm Arena 3. Arena 1 has been dramatically downgraded through Powercreep and Colosseum is not as lucrative outside of your first Orpharion .
Arena 3 offers a wonderful amount of Rank Experience, Pys, PreDRAs, and most importantly, Killer Latents. These Killer latents are amazingly powerful as they can enable cards to deal +50% damage to a particular type. When used correctly, it will improve your farming capabilities.
As such, Dark Athena’s goal should be farming Arena 3 and she is one of the best suited leaders to do so provided you have a feasible team.
Team building Dark Athena
As with any team in Puzzle and Dragons, a leader is only as strong as their subs and inherits and Dark Athena is no exception. While she may have a gentler team building requirement than most, you should still ensure you can run a competent team.
The following features are what I look for most in team building Dark Athena and I list them in order of preference:
- Dark primary attribute
- Two SBR if solo mode
- Two or more TPA
- Relevant active skill
- High base stats
- 7 combo awakening
Dark Primary attribute
While this may feel like common sense, people will ask if they can run water TPA cards like Ryune . Sure this can work, but you are automatically lowering the overall output of your team as you will have to chase both water and dark TPA which may inevitably lower your combo count. Dark Athena is meant to farm Arena 3 so why should you handicap yourself right form the get go?
This point only applies to those who plan to play her in solo mode as coop will almost always ensure you have 5 SBR across your eight subs. Below are the best double SBR subs available (mouse over icons for text):
Two or more TPA
Dark Athena is actually has a low base multiplier and it is through her ability to utilize TPA cards that enables her to achieve spectacular damage. Thus, it is ideal you try and aim for cards with two or more in order to ensure sufficient damage across the team. You can get away with a utility card that helps fulfill the below points such as Reincarnated Yomi , Anubis , or Eschamali as they all bring something unique/valued to the team.
Relevant active skill
Despite the fact that Skill Inheritance exists and enables you to customize cards to your liking, it is always ideal to have access to more favourable base skills. Powerful base actives directly translates into less stalling as well as having them ready by floor 1.
Active skills you should look out for are board changers, orb changers, or other valued utility.
High base stats
In this current day and age of Reincarnated Evolutions, it is somewhat common to see cards with 1,000 weighted stats. This is quite amazing when combined with the fact that Dark Athena has a multiplier that impacts all three attributes.
One thing to keep in mind is how Dark Athena’s leader skill works. You have 2.25x HP and 4x RCV when matching water and dark combos. As such, higher HP cards is more ideal as you should have enough RCV simply from the 4x.
7 combo awakenings
The 7 combo awakening has become the new “hot” awakening as it is universally powerful as it provides 2x damage against any boss when achieving 7 or more combos. While the pool of relevant 7 combo subs are small, it will most likely continue to grow as more cards receive their Reincarnated evolution.
Putting it all together
Taking all of the above points and putting it together, we can formulate an “ideal” team. I dislike the concept of an ideal/optimal team, but they do exist in Puzzle and Dragons because some cards/compositions are simply better than others.
Solo Dark Athena Arena 3
Every card and inherit has a purpose and while this may be considered more ideal/optimal, it does not mean that this is the only team you can use.
In all honesty, if you have access to Fujin , you no longer have to worry about Hera Dragon which places a lower reliance on Indra’s shield as it would only be for dodging Ilsix’s execution ability and Sopdet if you do not wish to use Fujin. Thus, a board unlocker could help navigate the locked jammers problem.
Zeta Hydra can be replaced by non-awoken/reincarnated Orochi and Ryune is simply an upgraded Haku active. Lumiel is your true damage solution to for PreDRAs while Facet is an over the top burst damage.
While Facet is the best burst inherit possible, Carat is a viable alternative. Unfortunately, lacking either Gemstone can prove troublesome as Dark Athena is somewhat reliant on using them to achieve sufficient burst damage.
All of this can be modified to help make it work for yourself and this set up is primarily for Arena 3 and will vary depending on which dungeon you plan to tackle. Finally, you are able to gain one inherit you are missing through a friend’s Dark Athena.
Coop set up
Due to coop enabling you to bring 4 more cards/actives along with easy SBR coverage, you have even more flexibility. However, your leaders should have your most commonly used active skills as they charge up twice as fast.
I already listed the ideal double SBR subs and will now focus on alternative for Haku. What makes Haku so strong is her 1,000 weighted stats, relevant board changer, dual TPA, and 7 combo awakening. As such, it is challenging to improve upon this and you should try your best to mirror this kit.
From the current available cards, Persephone and Sima Yi , and Noctis are the three best alternatives. All of them have most of the core points that Haku has so either one would function almost as well.
Even cards like Pandora and Yomi Dragon have relevance due to their beneficial active and stats. The key is you have the majority of your cards utilizing TPA and can fill in the 1-2 gaps with less ideal cards.
Skill Inheritance is a way to address the various mechanics presented in challenging content that your natural actives cannot counter. What you choose to use will be based on your own Monster Box as well as what the situation calls for. If possible, use on-colour assists to transfer some stats; however, it is better to use a more ideal active instead of the minor stat boost.
Remember, you can be missing one “key” active and can fill simply befriend someone who has what you need.
|Enhance all water & dark orbs
3 turn delay
11 turn Cooldown
|True Damage /
If I have missed any crucial inherit, please let me know in the comments below.
Latent awakening set up
Latent awakenings are able to add further customization to your monsters and do provide meaningful boosts in power. For the most part, they are not TOO important, but there are some that are better than others.
Largely speaking, Skill Delay Resists are a generic safe choice as they provide 1 turn of delay protection each. Thus, a card with a full 5 (or 6 if you expand) can help completely mitigate a delay and not slow down your clear times. Thankfully, these have become more readily available through events that have 2x invade rates for PreDRA Infestations.
However, some players will wish to fully optimize their team for Arena 3 farming and specific Killer latents will be your best friend. Killer latents provide 50% additional damage while occupying 2 latent slots and are mostly for an additional layer of protection in the end floors of Arena 3.
The number of wood resists will vary based on your own HP
Solo Dark Athena Arena 3 – No HP Badge
Dragon Killers are a natural counter to Radar Dragons and based on the number you possess, you will simply have to adjust your damage output accordingly. Why Physical Killers ? Well the most notable spawn pre-Radar Dragon is Ilsix and while you can side skirt him through Indra shields, this may not be an option for everyone and utilizing Dark Athena’s triple TPA and abundant water orbs can be enough to finish him off when below 30%.
Loki is not able to utilize a relevant Killer as God Killer will make Sopdet and Vishnu less controllable. As such, he is often loaded up with SDR or colour resists of your choice.
Colour Resists have less value on Dark Athena teams due to her innate tankiness and ability to burst down most floors with ease. However, wood has merits if you are struggling to overcome the HP threshold to survive Gaia Dragon hits. The number you require will vary based on how many you have due to your the inherits on your team. I will try and edit this once I actually have Dark Athena and can see how much HP I do have etc. If the HP value is too low, it may be required to actually drop some killers for more wood resists or use the latent extender etc.
As a note about SDRs, you want to ideally use them to ensure your base ability is ready to use against Hephaestus Dragon after his 15 turn delay. Thus, if your inherited skill has a 12 turn cooldown, 3 SDR will provide enough protection to use your base skill right away.
My set up
Mantastic’s Solo Dark Athena Arena 3
- Wood Resists are for Gaia Dragon
- Physical Killers are for Ilsix
- Indra is better than Susano
- Facet is better than Carat
My team requires exactly 6 wood resists to survive Gaia Dragon and your own needs will vary. My team composition works for me given my cards and Monster Box. This is not the “ideal” team from an inherit point of view but can still function at a high level and solo Arena 3.
Using the wood resists allows me to use the +2 second Time Extend badge which makes the whole process significantly more relaxing. The +15% HP badge will not enable me to survive anything new and felt unneeded for me.
Who can actually acquire 750k MP?
As much as everyone wants to have access to all the content in PAD, there will simply be aspects that will be out of reach for the average player. Many people complained that the One-Shot Challenges that featured a Radar Dragon at the end were outrageous and unfair, but in all honesty, it was meant to be end game content and not everyone can be end game. Constantly releasing easier/early game content will inevitably kill the game as many players will begin to stop playing after a certain point.
Dark Athena will be meant for older players who have been committed to Puzzle and Dragons for a prolonged period of time. Using my two accounts as an example, I can clear any dungeon in the game along with being able to efficiently farm Monster Points. I purchased Yomi Dragon when she was first released (over a year ago) with just over 300,000 Monster Points. Since then, I have not made any additional purchases along with never spamming Rogue Descends for PreDRAs but have still managed to acquire over 1,000,000 MP in a years’ time.
There will also be many players in a similar boat as me, long term player with nothing of true value to purchase from the MP shop and have simply been stockpiling.
We gain 480 natural stamina every day (1 stamina per 3 minutes) along with the potential to rank up through playing. Thus, a dedicated player can farm up Monster Points in a relatively short period of time.
To make math simple, each Rogue Descend will drop 500 MP along with collateral Plus Eggs, Super Kings, or Evolution Materials. In addition, each one will give around 50-60k rank experience and will allow you to chain unlimited rank ups in coop up to around rank 550 without stopping. Higher ranks will have to slow down this progression and wait for stamina to refill, but you still will be able to achieve 1 rank up per day.
Now, I understand that not everyone wants to purely grind MP all day, but let us limit it to 10 clears per day as you probably wish to play other content (I am assuming you ranked up). This would yield 5,000 MP on a daily basis and would take 150 days or around 5 months to achieve.
You will naturally have access to various MP reward content (challenge dungeons, ranking tournaments, etc.) along with vendoring poor Godfest rolls to hasten the progress.
North America is usually on a 2-3 month delay in terms of content being released so you have plenty of time to prepare.
Players who have too much MP
Being able to IAP (purchase stones with real life money) to various degrees has allowed some players to acquire massive amounts of MP due to plentiful Godfest rolling. This has probably resulted in them nearing MP cap along with having nothing to actually purchase. This may feel like a Pay-to-Win idea, but Dark Athena was originally available in JP for around $30-40 retail.
Conclusion: To buy or not to buy?
The answer to this question comes down to your own personal PAD goals and resources available. Dark Athena will be able to clear all the current content available in a fast and efficient manner. Puzzle and Dragons has become a not only a game that revolves around a single clear of end game content, but rather the ability to consistently farm the same dungeon over and over again with as little effort as possible which Dark Athena excels at.
Dark Athena grants more players the opportunity to tackle end game content while being accessible once you acquire 750k Monster Points. However, you should only purchase if you can field a feasible team for her.
For myself, I plan to purchase her on both Mantastic and Fantastic in order to open new doors for quickly clearing end game content.
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