Dark Athena is the newest craze to sweep through NA/EU as she is somewhat unrivaled in her speed and efficiency in clearing end game content. For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on Arena 3 set ups to better optimize your experience from both a Solo and Coop point of view. This will include inheritance suggestions, Latents, and subs to bring.
I have written extensively about Arena 3 since my first clear in August 2016, but I want to produce a template to aid in your Dark Athena adventures.
If you wish to read my comprehensive Dark Athena guide, please refer to it HERE.
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My second solo clear (first one recorded) and this was done pretty much right after I bought her so things may look less polished overall.
Powercreep has slowly caught up to Arena 3 and with Dark Athena, more and more people will be having their first taste of the Radar Dragons and other wonders held within this 25 floor dungeon.
Arena 3 has randomized spawns that are drawn from a fixed pool encounters so you can somewhat plan ahead for what you could encounter.
However, there are very few spawns that are actually threatening to Dark Athena and provided you loosely follow the templates shown below, you should have sufficient tools to deal with them.
Finally, everyone will have different Killer Latents, orb enhances, and sub compositions so your damage output will vary and it is up to you to go into Endless to damage test on your own.
Solo mode enables you to use a Badge of your choice, but restricts you to a smaller health pool, less actives, and a more rigid composition in order to maximize your experience.
Despite the fact that an “ideal/optimal” team exists, you do have some room for creativity provided you can meet the the health threshold outlined for Gaia Dragon. The optimal team simply means you require less effort overall (fewer combos) to sweep floors and does provide various levels of security against all possible encounters.
Solo Dark Athena Arena 3 – No HP Badge
I want to stress that the number of Dragon Killers can be one, but you should always try to keep it the same number across all of your Haku in order to preserve damage control.
With this set up, you require exactly 6 wood resists to survive Gaia Dragon’s attacks without the use of a shield provided you are at full health. If your HP differs from this value (64,294), you must adjust your wood resists accordingly.
If this is not feasible with full +297, you can simply opt to use the bonus HP badge.
Physical Killers are used to counter Ilsix after he enrages and produces a board of water, hearts, and locked jammers. The Killers will enable you to combo hard with water TPA and you can kill Ilsix without burning an additional active skill.
Using the 6th latent slot extender can have merits as it will allow you to have additional SBR for an added level of safety, but is not mandatory.
What I am using
Surprisingly, I have a team that is actually quite close to the ideal one and still works amazingly well.
Solo Dark Athena Arena 3
Coop allows you to bring 4 additional actives along with a significantly higher health pool. As such, your set up and strategy will vary due to the fact that you have a larger cushion to work with.
In coop mode, you no longer have to worry about SBR coverage as you should be more than able to find 5 across 8 subs. In addition, the overarching need for Fujin is dramatically lower as the larger HP pool facilitates an easier Hera Dragon clear. However, running Fujin is still beneficial.
Due to the larger HP pool, you no longer have to worry about wood resists and surviving Gaia Dragon’s attacks and instead should switch your focus to dark resists and overcoming Hera Dragon’s threshold if you do not run Fujin. Fully maxed out teams will always be able to naturally tank the first hit and it becomes a game of overcoming the 107,750 attack without using a shield/damage mitigation. This will automatically grant you 2 additional turns to dance with Hera Dragon and will only improve your consistency. In fact, even if you do run Fujin, you can use these turns as extra stalling if required.
What subs should we run?
Due to the fact that SBR coverage is no longer an issue, you may not actually need to run Loki if you are able to find an alternative sub that is just as hard hitting. However, Loki does has naturally high base HP and may help in overcoming the HP threshold for Hera Dragon.
Despite the fact that Dark Athena has a lower dependency on active skills, you should still try to prioritize using subs with relevant base actives. This is because stalling is problematic due to the RCV component being tied to damage activation as well as having to wait twice as long in coop.
Naturally, Haku is still a core sub and you should use her as much as possible along with the Dragon Killers. Otherwise, prioritize cards with TPA, 7 combo awakenings, high base stats, and relevant active skills.
Inheritance set up
You have 4 additional active skill slots to play around with but will still try and mimic the solo set up with a reshuffling around of the inherits. You want to place key active skills on your Dark Athenas as they recharge twice as fast as your subs. Thus, you want to move Fujin to a sub instead as it is a one time use. Furthermore, you want to try and plan out who will absorb Hephaestus’s 15 turn delay (ideally the side with Fujin).
If you are fortunate enough, some teams will run double Fujin to seamlessly counter Vishnu and Hera Dragon, but that is really not required as Dark Athena’s delay is enough to handle Vishnu.
Theory crafting a coop team
If I had every card in the game and could build a dream team for both sides, I would probably create something along the lines of the following:
Coop Dark Athena – Arena 3
This team will require a few dark resists to tank the 107,750 hit from Hera Dragon, but otherwise should follow the solo set up while replacing wood resists with dark and SDR as needed.
The bottom team is designated to absorb the 15 turn skill delay from Hephaestus Dragon and if everyone is fully charged up, you can have two Haku still ready to use with the potential to have the third and Persephone ready if you use SDR or less skilled up inherits.
Worst case scenario is you blow your delay on Hino then get Vishnu and are forced to use your delay. Naturally this will cause Hera Dragon to appear, but if you have met the HP threshold to survive her first two attacks, you can then cycle Indra up and have a walloping 10 turns to kill before you actually die.
What I am actually using
Naturally I do not have access to most of the desired cards and will be using a set up that is similar, but not quite the same as the “ideal” one:
Coop Dark Athena – Arena 3
Despite the fact that Arena 3 has 25 floors and varied spawns, very few are actually a threat to Dark Athena. Provided you mirror the ideal teams as closely as possible, you have more than enough tools to counter them and most of it can be done without using active skills.
One thing I want to stress is that Dark Athena’s active skill is a get out of Jail-Free card as a 3 turn delay (5 with inherit) means you can safely catch your breath, stall back for skill, or prep your board.
The Tans have 3.5 million defense and requires at least two dark combos with one being a TPA to pierce. However, you can simply delay them and pick them off and dance on the final one
Killer Latent – F8
These Tamadras have 5 million defense, but are also light which means you only need to overcome 2.5 million. This can be achieved with a single dark TPA and 7 combos. You are able to tank 2 consecutive hits in solo mode without healing so you can hoard orbs and prep your board accordingly. If things go poorly, you can simply delay it.
Sha Wujing – F9
Just delay him or use a shield.
PreDRA – F13
Use your true damage and if playing in coop, make sure the appropriate player kills the Celestial on floor 12.
Zeus & Hera – F14
I simply wait out the two turns and then delay. The regular strategy of one shotting, having them heal to 50% +1, and then pinging below does not work due to the fact that your RCV component is tied to dealing damage. As such, I simply delay them after the status void drops off.
Sopdet – F16
While she is light, you can match a maximum of 3 combos total with one of them being dark (assuming 6 total orb enhances). I aim for 2 to accommodate one random skyfall while doing my best to match at the top of the board. After she turns dark, you have more wiggle room, but never match dark and water at the same time. Matching TPA fire and water can help when dark orbs are not present.
Hinokagutsuchi – F18
Just delay him. Dragon Killers make for impossible damage control against something as fragile as him.
Parvati – F18
You cannot match dark and water and should simply rely on Dark matches to chip down. Just be aware that she hits for 36,722 when under 30%. You can always heal her back up to stall if required. A tedious, not dangerous floor.
Meimei – F18
If you have a poor board to start with, you can let her do her first move that generates wood, light, and dark orbs. From there, you can dark TPA her down with your Physical Killers on your two leaders.
Vishnu – F20
Vishnu can be delayed and I do so once I have chipped him down or am unable to heal again. You might as well chunk him down by a modest amount before delaying as you then have even more turns to kill a smaller amount of health. He is also Fujin-able if everything goes wrong.
You must keep your damage below 1 million and I avoid dark TPA here. The 7 combo awakenings are also a liability here.
Ilsix – F21
Depending on the number of Dragon Killers on your team, you will need to control your damage appropriately. Try not to use heart orbs when above 45,518 health. When he goes into a Frenzy and creates water, hearts, and locked Jammer orbs, you can rely on water TPA and Physical Killers to kill.
However, this may not always be feasible and you can always use damage mitigation to tank a hit while clearing the board as well as a Ryune board to heal and deal damage. Just be aware that there is a 1/3 chance for a 46,238 preemptive on the next floor.
Radar Dragons – F23
All of the Radar Dragons have Dragon typing and this will influence how much damage control you need to exercise when facing them. I highly recommend you go into Endless and damage test varying amounts of combos/dark matches to give yourself an understanding of what is required as each on has different thresholds to overcome.
These may sound like overly simplified strategies, but Dark Athena does make life simple.
Hephaestus has been the bane of most solo runs due to his 15 turn skill delay preemptive. However, Dark Athena is more than capable of facing him due to her high damage, ability to run Dragon Killers, and naturally tanky leaderskill.
In solo mode, you are able to tank 5 hits in a row (61,655) without the HP badge (6 with) and if you mirror the ideal set up, you can have Hakus ready after only a few turns with Loki being available to lend his damage enhance and haste right away.
For myself, I try my best to only heal when required while bringing him below 50% as fast as possible. Once below 50%, I use Loki (Haku if needed) to sweep and have the damage enhance carry over for the Kali.
Noah Dragon is easily my least favourite spawn and the “easiest” method is to simply stall out the 99 turns of 5 million damage void. To do this, you should only heal when he is absorbing dark as you are forced to deal damage to trigger your RCV multiplier.
If you prefer not to wait 99 turns, you must wait for a desirable colour absorb to try and do as much damage as possible (under 5 million per card). This will trigger the first Judgement and then it is simply a matter of using your burst to hit under 20 million per card to finish them off.
Provided you have enough wood resists to tank the 68,255 hits, Gaia Dragon should be a relative cakewalk. You have 6 turns where you cannot exceed 24 million damage and then one turn where the board goes dark and the shield drops. If you understand your burst potential, Gaia Dragon should fall over relatively fast.
Going for a clean one shot is far too risky and it is best to simply deal as much damage as possible on the first turn without pushing him below 50%. Once he swaps colours, do an appropriate amount of burst to finish him off as he will now be at a much more manageable amount of health.
If you have Fujin, free win. However, you should take one turn to set up your board and let her heal you back to full health before killing.
If not using Fujin, you should be playing in coop (solo can always have Fujin with a friend) for the augmented health pool and you ideally can survive the second attack for 107,750 damage. This will grant you plenty of time to safely chip her down while staying below 2 million per card.
Kali – F24
You need to deal just over 26 million damage to avoid the execution zone of 150,096 damage. However, if you want, you can use an appropriate amount of damage mitigation to survive this attack and then kill as per usual once the 50% damage reduction drops off.
Dark Athena is the new “in thing” to farm Arena 3 with. She combines consistency, tankiness, amazing damage output, and the innate ability to handle almost every spawn with little effort.
While the showcased teams are more streamlined for maximum efficiency, you can exercise creativity, especially in coop. Dark Athena is forgiving enough and you generally can kill most floor with only a single dark TPA and water combo.
Let me know what you are using on your Dark Athena team(s).
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23 thoughts on “Dark Athena in Arena 3 – Solo and Coop Strategies”
This post is super useful, thanks 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get more comfortable with where to use actives and where to stall with practice.
I got Uruka from the Heroine REM, I’m curious if she can fit on the team, or the standard setup is more reliable.
I also rolled her. As of now, i inherited her on a D.Athena, but i don’t know if i should run her directly… I have 2 Accounts, one with the perfect team and perfect inherits (minus fujin, but with uruka and facet), and one with the perfect team but no gemstone inherit or Fujin. I think i will have to toy a bit around to get my final team.
Awesome write up, excited to try it out. One question tho..
I’ve got 2 Haku’s, Loki, Lumiel, Indra/Susanso and Carat, but no Orchi or no Fujin. I actually don’t have a single roll back higher than 1 turn. What other type of inherit would you suggest going with for Dthena in this situation. Revo yomi? Dkali? Germory?
I have pretty decent selection except no roll backs…mainly for a solo build.
I’ve never played much Arena before (I’m a scrub) but after getting DAthena I’m becoming comfortable with farming A1. I know it’s not enough of an investment if I only wanted to farm A1 but the spawns are similar, albeit harden when it transitions to A2 and A3. Unfortunately my alt has no Hakus at all so I’m working with a very suboptimal setup. T_T But I still want to try A2 soon!
any reason you use zeta hydra and not revolve orochi?
Revo Orochi has a 4 turn delay, normal Orochi and Zeta Hydra have 5 turn delays. For most things, a 3 turn delay is ok, but sometimes you really want to have a longer delay to charge skills.
Next post : how to super colosseum with DAth 🙂 ?
You said every card in the game, lol
You mention nothing about being bound … no active skills, no unbind awakenings. What do you do in that situation?
So far every time I get bound, and even when I get bound and then skill bound (in either A1 or A3), the team has been more than capable of stalling it out (or in the case of skill binds, ignoring it entirely).
So it hasn’t been more than a nuisance.
could i switch sima yi for a third haku and avoid ilsix problems?
Completely (almost) unrelated to DAthena, but would you be able to do a guide on split ults like you did when the Odins were released? Maybe for all GFE’s?
Having trouble with what to do with Kanna, the upcoming DMeta split, Tsubaki, and Satsuki… I think it’d help me if I had a clear comparison of their pros/cons, and examples of common niches each fills.
Maybe once the DMeta split gets revealed? Anyway, thanks for all the content! 🙂
I wrote about my Initial thoughts on the new meta evos and may c/p them again in a new post with changes as needed when released =)
As an FYI [and recommendation]: I found Laurasia on YouTube, who does an amazing job showing how many combos (and of which colors) you can safely do in order to not be absorbed for every problem floor in A3. Yea, every trouble floor, wow! Seriously go find it (Japanese title but also “MAD Movie Ver.2”). I keep the video open on my computer for reference. I was going to recommend you try something like this, which would greatly help as well as speed up runs. Your guide is great help, but on Gaia Dragon [for example] you just say attack hard whereas in Laurasia’s guide it shows to use Facet, TPA Dark + Water + Fire, and limit of 6 combos. We then adjust the advice for our sub-optimal teams and presto … greatly improved success rate (I started w/ 2 of 10 success rate, just finished 4 of 6 wins).
I don’t have the latent setup shown in that vid (missing all the dragon killers), pretty sure that messes with a bunch of calculations though, doesn’t it?
If you have less killers than in the vid, yes you will hit for less. However, the greatest difficulty in A3 is hitting too much. Knowing that you are hitting less hard, the vid provides the combo count and orb matching approx max for every floor. If skyfall hits you with one extra combo too many, write down if the hit was absorbed or not. Every team is different, but I am now able to kill Hera Dragon no prob with only one Indra (no Fujin).
Currently running… DAthena (R. Orochi) – R. Haku (Lumiel) – R. Haku (Ryune) – Sima Yi (D. Meta) – R. Loki (Facet). Other potential assists include Snow Haku, Halloween Kiran, and Fujin. Would you switch out Orochi for Fujin? Any other suggested changes? Running solo 99% of the time. Still working my way up to Arena. Thanks.
I would put fujin on your Dark Athena as that is far more rare and you will be popular. You can easily find friends with a delay.
Otherwise, I like your team outside of the Sima Yi inherit as the dmeta shield is pretty weak. Do you have any other shielding options?
Thank you. 🙂 No other shield options at the moment. Hopefully that will change during PCGF.
Indra is around =)
Thanks again for this guide. I had been tackling arena 1 for quite some time and got comfortable with that. Then i managed to get lucky my first time on Arena 2 and didn’t get an Ilsix spawn. So I cleared that easily.
However, with Arena 3 and particularly the radar dragons, i was afraid to jump in as i HATE using stamina and not getting anything from it.
With the release of Dark Athena and R Haku and with having the good fortune of having all of the ideal subs and most of the assists, I figured it was time to give it a real go with your guide. I have now managed to win a few times (even got one HeraDra to drop)! Still a long way to go to get the various killer awakenings to streamline the process, but success makes me more eager to continue farming Arena 3.
For those still working on it, make use of this guide, but also realize that you really need to learn what your damage output is. Once you know what it takes to kill or bypass Resolves, it gets much easier.
Glad this guide was helpful and congrats on your various clears! I completely agree that you need to test your output to gain an understanding of how much you actually pump out as everyone’s teams vary.
Ney&Cotton is storong XD