Powercreep and Arena 3

Introduction

My first clear of Arena 3 occurred in early August 2016 with Myr. Since then, I have used a variety of leaders to tackle what was once the hardest dungeon in the game and I do find it strange that we are still playing the same dungeon 8+ months later.

Perhaps new dungeon content is lacking to help bring everyone back up to speed through Powercreep and flashier leaders, but it can become a bit tedious after hundreds of clears.

While there are countless different leader compositions that can farm Arena 3, I have found the most success in my big three: Myr Miru, Meridionalis , and now Dark Athena 3193.

This article will examine the state of the game and Powercreep in Arena 3. In addition, I will also be highlighting each team’s strengths and weaknesses when playing through Arena 3.

Video commentary

—video goes here—

History of Arena 3

Arena 3 has been live in NA/EU for well over 8 months and was once the hardest dungeon in the game as it now lags behind Colosseum and the new 3P Coop dungeons. However, Colosseum is rarely played and is mostly a stalling/grindy dungeon while 3P has not come to NA/EU. As such, we are still playing Arena 3 and thankfully it offers some of the best rewards in the game: PreDRA, Killer Latent, Tan, Py, gold, and massive rank experience. However, during the majority of my Arena 3 playtime, it was far less lucrative and almost feels “wasted” compared to how rewarding it has become.

The Killer Latents have become the new “in” thing as it allows teams to better clear Arena 3. This is a strange scenario as you want Killers to better clear Arena 3, but need to clear Arena 3 for them. However, these Killers should be viewed as a luxury, not a mandatory aspect as it simply allows you to deal more damage with less effort (which can speed up clear times and make for lazier comboing). You can perhaps liken this to Skill Delay Resist Farming, it can be done without having 2 SDR on all subs, but it is more challenging (I used Sarasvati 3069 initially then switched to Awoken Liu Bei A Liu Bei).

Catch up and Powercreep

I honestly feel that PAD is in a period of “catch-up” for the majority of players as we now have countless tools to tackle Arena 3. New cards and abilities have helped trivialize most of the challenging mechanics and many people are finally getting their first clears these past few weeks with Dark Athena.

We have somewhat Powercreeped Arena 3 at this point in time and this will only become more accessible with the release of Reincarnated Kushinadahime . As such, I feel PAD is slowly becoming more of a rolling than playing game as we are simply acquiring new toys to clear what is essentially old content in a more efficient/consistent manner.

I feel that this is unhealthy for the most part as new playable content has been non-existent outside of Colosseum and the actual desire to play dungeons has been lowered since the release of Myr.

Myr is still the best farmable monster to ever be released and it appears that GungHo has reigned in viable farmable cards since. This is a real shame as teams are now almost 100% REM based with only a smattering of Zaerog Infinity Z8, Dios Ult Zeus Dios, and Tengu Tengu still around. One can argue that the ability to now inherit farmable cards raises their value, but for the most part, they are poverty alternatives to REM inherits.

All of this adds up to a lack of playable content for myself as there is no real motivation to continue to play new descends outside the first time clear as the drops are not meaningful.

With all that being said, I am still optimistic that GungHo will turn this around in the next few months. Puzzle and Dragons has probably the best battle mechanics of any game as the skill cap ceiling is essentially limitless. As such, I do believe that there will be a bigger push towards creating more playable content instead of just rolling cards to make old dungeons easier.

Reflecting on my Big 3

While I have used a variety of leaders to farm Arena 3, I have had the most success and consistency with Myr Miru, Meridionalis , and Dark Athena 3193. All three of these teams are able to sport consistent clears and all are more than capable of farming Arena 3 to this day. Just bear in mind that these teams work for myself given my limited Monster Box and other top tier teams are able to breeze through Arena 3.

The release of Fujin 3414 has completely trivialized Hera Dragon encounters and even though I do not own one myself, pairing with other people has further opened the doors to teams that can clear Arena 3. However, none of my Big 3 are actually reliant on Fujin, it just makes things easier.

With each leader, I will be including my first or second clear with them so things will always looks less polished as I am still learning their capabilities.

Miru Myr

Myr was my first to ever clear Arena 3 as I was sorely lacking a high-end leader beforehand. The fact that Myr is farmable and amazingly powerful while retaining a flexible sub pool helped ensure I was able to form a competent team. The following pros and cons takes into consideration today’s current meta.

Myr in Arena 3
Pros Cons
  • TPA TPA team is superior
  • Can still build rows Light Row
  • Flexible team building
  • Tanky and durable
  • Easy stalling
  • Farmable
  • Bind-immune
  • Can deal with all Radar spawns
  • Viable in solo
  • Struggles for burst damage without actives
  • Lower combo count
  • Slow and orb hungry
  • People dislike Heart Crosses
  • GH is starting to punish Heart Crosses

Myr is still capable of clearing Arena 3 (was able to do so in August, 2016) and was the leader I used for well over 100 clears in 2016. However, I have sidelined her due to the slower playstyle and naturally lower combo count. In all honesty, if two leaders are equally consistent, you will pick the faster one as time is valuable.

One other interesting point to mention is that GungHo has been harshly clamping down on the viability of Heart Crosses if Colosseum is any indication. This is because Heart Crosses have lower damage due to a portion of the board being occupied by 5 heart orbs along with a lower combo count.

 Meridionalis

Meridionalis was the second team that I found the most success with after excessively playing with Myr. Meridionalis is unique in that she possesses a no skyfall clause which leads to both faster clear times and perfect damage control.

Arena 3 is riddled with absorption/damage void encounters and being able to control your damage is invaluable as it will save your active skills and thus raising your consistency. Furthermore, you are able to sweep all the pre-Radar Dragon floors with a single water row (outside wood bosses) which further speeds up your clear times. Finally, with 6.25x RCV, you can always heal back up to full health with a single heart orb combo.

Unfortunately, she is not without fault as her solo gameplay with marred with no SBR Skill Lock Resist, no HP multiplier, and a vulnerability to binds. This is not to say that she cannot clear Arena 3 in solo mode, but has a much heavier dependency on coop compared to Myr and Dark Athena.

Meridionalis in Arena 3
Pros Cons
  • Perfect damage control
  • No skyfalls
  • Fast and consistent in coop
  • 6 water orbs kills most things
  • Massive burst damage
  • 6.25x RCV
  • Stalling is easy
  • Can deal with all Radar spawns
  • F1 Kappa = faster clear
  • No HP multiplier
  • No SBR
  • Vulnerable to binds
  • Solo mode is much harder
  • Lower combo count without active

The most appealing aspect of Meridionalis is her perfect damage control and speed in which you can clear content. The no skyfall clause combined with 6.25x RCV also means stalling is a breeze and speedy as you can match 1 combo non-heart orbs for a few turns, then rapidly heal back up afterwards.

Despite the fact that I do own Dark Athena, I have still gone back and used Meridionalis for plenty of content. This is partially due to the fact that I have already mapped out easy clears for Machine Hera and Colosseum and honestly do not feel Dark Athena will clear either in a faster manner. In fact, Meridionalis will be safer in Colosseum due to the fact that she has much better sustain and can heal without dealing damage or being dependent on dark and water orbs.

3193 Dark Athena

Dark Athena is a living embodiment of Powercreep. She combines both easy activation, amazing burst damage, innate tankiness, and bind immunity all into one amazing leader. Despite the fact that an optimal team exists, she is can still crush content with less than perfect subs/inherits.

Ideal/optimal teams exist because they offer the most consistent way to clear a particular dungeon. It does not mean it is the only way.

For myself, I have a surprisingly strong team for Dark Athena as I have never really had any truly meta/top tier teams before (excluding Myr) and it felt good to crush what was once challenging content.

In fact, I took a brief 12 minute break and cleared another solo Arena 3 and easily danced around Hephaestus Dragon. If this does not say Powercreep, I don’t know what does.

Dark Athena in Arena 3
Pros Cons
  • Great damage control
  • Can use 3 Hakus
  • One of the best, if not the best in solo mode
  • Amazingly fast clears
  • Dark TPA + water combo kills most things
  • Massive burst damage
  • Can use 7C 45 cards
  • Can fully combo board
  • 2.25x HP
  • Can deal with all Radar spawns with ease
  • Bind immune
  • Built in delay
  • No SBR
  • RCV is conditional
  • Stalling is not as ideal
  • Naturally low Time Extend Time Extend
  • Active has low value against Kali/Radars

Dark Athena is easily my strongest solo leaders for Arena 3 and barring no water skyfalls on floor 1, the fastest of my Big 3. She is the least orb hungry as 3 water and 3 dark with 7 combos kills most things. Conversely, you can be lazier and TPA dark with a water combo and kill almost every floor when you also factor in Killer latents.

However, all of this does come with some minor downsides. First off, Dark Athena’s RCV is conditional on matching water and dark orbs. This means you will be dealing damage whenever you try and heal. This can lead to problematic stalling scenarios, but the best way to manage this is to abuse your high HP pool. You simply tank hits until you need to heal, then you go for the kill and sweep the floor. While this may only yield 3 turns of stalling, it is better than none and does at least give you a chance to set up the board.

In addition to less than ideal stalling, Dark Athena has issues with orb movement time. While some players may scream “Player Skill Issue” it is not always feasible to match 7+ combos with 5.5 seconds of movement time. This does take some time getting used to, but hitting 7+ combos is not even needed for the first 19 floors outside of the Tans.

Solo Dark Athena Arena 3
Card 3193 3193
Inherit Zeta Hydra Lumiel 3387 Ryune Carat 3414
Latent physical killerphysical killer
Wood resistWood resist
Dragon KillerWood resist
Wood resist
Dragon KillerSkill delay resist
Dark ReductionDark Reduction
Dragon KillerSkill delay resist
Skill delay resist
Skill delay resistSkill delay resistSkill delay resist
Wood resistWood resist
physical killerphysical killer
Skill delay resist

Notes:

  • Wood Resists Wood resist are for Gaia Dragon
  • Physical Killers physical killer are for Ilsix (maybe Meimei)
  • Indra Indra is better than Susano 3387
  • Facet Facet is better than Carat Carat
  • Mantastic has a better team than Fantastic

Conclusion

Arena 3 is slowly being Powerceeped into a easily farmable dungeon due to newer and flashier cards that negate most of the dangerous mechanics. This is great for players trying to play catch-up as they can now experience what is still end game content, but does leave some veteran players yearning for more.

My hope is that GungHo begins to once again push out challenging content to play through (3P coop?) as I feel PAD is a bit of a standstill as we are simply gaining new toys to farm old content more efficiently.

What do you think about the state of the game and the current position Arena 3 is in.

Happy Puzzling!

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20 thoughts on “Powercreep and Arena 3”

  1. I’m still missing some critical understanding of A3, since the radar dragons always kill me. Anyway, at least with DAthena I can get to them faster and figure out how to beat them.

    I think your assessment of PAD is right, for so long it’s been the same stuff. Just new characters to use to beat the same content. I’ve found that the latest content requires a higher and higher skill cap, which actually isn’t super fun, so I’m not sure what they can do to fix it.

    At least the actual puzzling is still fun, and I’ve lately felt like I’ve improved a bit, which feels good. 3P doesn’t seem like my jam, so seems like it will be a while before something new comes around the corner.

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    1. Well what is the latest content that is super skill intensive? Colo is mostly a stalling festival and the ideal teams can overcome the combo shields with relative ease.

      I think the only super skill intensive is the current ch10 no awakenings as Anubis seems to be the easiest solution but that’s one exception

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      1. Myr is the easiest solution for c10 no awakening. Bring high HP subs, inherit Ra and muse somewhere, ensure you have bicolor board options, and you’re done. Stall on gigas, then smooth sailing to the boss which you burst with a bicolor board + muse (+enhance to be safe, lakechi does the trick).

        So no, not a player skill issue…. I could clear it easily, and I’m far from being good

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        1. I don’t mean to call you out on this, but you have echoed a sentiment I take issue with. Surely in-game combo-ing is an important skill but so is the team planning that comes before.

          Honestly, I get a little salty when people both complain that things have gotten stale and also that there is not enough skill. You had bosses with millions of hp. People couldn’t clear it, so then we got leaders with ridiculous damage caps. That trivialized literally everything that came before it. Then people started complaining that everything was able to be cleared using just a glass cannon so then we got all kinds of obnoxious mechanics designed to force you to do something other than just do tens of millions of damage per sub every floor. Frankly, I think figuring out how to dance through all the mechanics and still be able to deal the necessary damage is a big part of the fun. I thought the thought process to figure out exactly how Myr could take on c10 was brilliant.

          Powercreep is being able to do today with a tpa and another combo what took a row three months ago and 9+ combos five months before that. While players can improve, combo skill for most is ultimately capped at a level that may not allow them to beat things with the 9+ combo but maybe they can with a row or, at worst, they will eventually be able to get it when the tpa team comes around. That way, player still feel like they are progressing on to harder and harder content. I personally believe that feeling of progress is one of the strongest reasons people stay with a game. I know I have quit more than a few when they turn into mindless grinds and I applaud GungHo for keeping it fresh in that regard.

          Getting back to Mantastic’s thesis, yes this is a time of catchup for a lot of players. Some people having been clearing A3 for the better part of the last year and that’s great. For them, this is at best, not that interesting and, at worst, an affront to their playing skill as snow the unwashed masses are treading all over what was once theirs. For most players (myself included), however, A2 and A3 are now obtainable goals and that is a good thing. Could I have cleared them before? Maybe. But it would have been a very frustrating experience and that is not why I play this game. If you are the type of player who likes rising to the newest challenge, that’s great, I really envy you, but sometimes I feel that there needs to be a bit more of an acknowledgment that not everyone is playing for those same reasons and others may perceive things a little differently.

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  2. I think your whole thesis is 100% accurate. I’ve been playing 1200 days nearly continuously but am one who is “catching up.” PAD started to take up so much time to farm and plan and hypermax teams, the metas passed me by. By he time I got my Sonia and Sakura teams going Shiva and Bastet were out. Then I got yomigon hypermaxed and myr came out. I started to lose interest. Athena is an easy reset button. I have a “near perfect” team just by chance (and time) and can quickly “farm everything” so that all my teams are back to relevance to wherever the meta moves next.

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    1. I really like the term reset button for DA as that is what she feels like. She is “farmable” or simply outright buyable and has no evo tree so everyone can catch up again.

      The heart cross meta made power creep jump far too fast and its only somewhat recently that GH has been able to put a cap back on it.

      I would take this time to have a stock pile of viable cards and materials for the next meta shift =)

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      1. If I could expand on that a bit, I feel like DA is part of a larger overall reset. First we had zero stam normal where people like me did more to advance their box in a week than they could normally do in months. Next we have the release of DA and 5c coin dungeons so that everyone who missed/didn’t finish everything by farming Legendary Earth last week can level up and get all the tamas they need to awaken everything. I see this as removing monsters being undeveloped as an excuse to not try new things. Hopefully, this ushers in a new age where lots of things are viable and people can pick and choose teams based on personal preference and dungeon requirements.

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        1. Yeah the 0 stamina normals and 5c coin dungeons and perhaps to a lesser extent, 4x technicals are all part of a big catch up plan. You are certainly right about not having an excuse for underdeveloped teams as you have the capacity to max level and awaken everything.

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  3. I do feel the game has a vast issue on the endgame potential, when starting to play pad the game feel overwhelming as there seems to much to do . this sensation lasts till the middle game and a bit till late when you start facing the highest dungeons and still feel threaten by the game, however once you reach endgame you notice the contend is low, and start farming the game just to beat your number, get better teams, or try different cards, and it aint bad to a point however it does leads to older player getting bored out of the game as there is nothing new to look for, the idea of getting farmable leaders like Myr or in this situation mp monsters, is great as you need to run a lot of dungeons to get those materials, however by the end is the same old dungeons, I feel the game needs a bit more hard as hell dungeons that can keep up with the release of new cards, I would likely prefer them to stop releasing more cards and release more annoying(fun) hard dungeons for endgame for people to use those cards and slow down the effects of power creep

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    1. We need powercreep through dungeons, not just monsters. But half the problem is coop

      Solo mode is often impossible without amazing RNG or perfect meta teams and coop can be too lenient. As such, there is no happy middle ground outside of those solo One Shot Challenges

      Sadly, GH doesn’t want to create solo/coop specific difficulties for regular dungeons

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  4. Great breakdown. As someone who is still in the process of clearing Arena 3, your videos and guides are awesome.

    If you could at some point, I would love more guides for clearing Colloseum, as that is my next big hurdle after Arena 3. Something along the lines of how to deal with challenging spawns and what to make sure you bring. Anything, really, would be much appreciated.

    Thank you again for everything you’ve done for the community.

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  5. tbh, I found 3P dungeons the most difficult so far (jp player). Sure, u have 18 actives but each active’s cooldown is tripled. The triple descended rush, for me, was the most difficult since the boss had 500mil hp. He attacks every 4 turns but when he goes below 70%, it changes to every 1 turn.
    Thus, I feel like GungHo is still adding harder contents to keep players active
    Side note, 3P arena at 37 stamina is great 😀

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  6. “This is a real shame as teams are now almost 100% REM based” -Mantastic

    This is one of my main points why I hate pad sometimes. Sure a half thought out myr team can get somewhere, but to clear end game or more challenging content, you need a well set teams of monsters which only rem provides. As such, its a total crapshoot to get anywhere in the game unless you pour money into it. An unlucky person can get royally screwed while a lucky person can breeze through it. I honestly wish Pad would use the MP shop more often so people can have access to specific creatures during events instead of just rolling. at least this way if people roll trash, they can (eventually) get something worth using.

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    1. I feel that they are withdrawing their desire to make meta farmables after Myr, but it was honestly a problem due to the heart cross being too strong.

      MP is a great workaround imo as it can be “farmed” or at least guaranteed even with bad REM luck

      Perhaps GH believes that coop offsets the REM dependency (which it does) but not everyone wants to play coop

      It will take a major shift overall to correct this

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      1. but then again, this is a free to play game so they do need some kind of incentive for in app purchase. If most of the top tier monsters were farmable, their sales might drop.

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  7. Not sure why you think they’re interested in correcting it. There’s no money in free teams that can clear everything in the game.

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  8. The catch-up phrase is well put, but i do believe the game is going towards a good direction. The meta is shifting back to skill-based leads (although you still need to have the cards). Leader pairings are also opening up with 7×6 boards and crazier activation requirements. From what i see they’re still trying to push out tip top hard content for players to chew on. E.g. White jormungand / monster hunter collab.

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