This past month, we have been given a taste of the next wave of Powercreep for awakenings: 7 Combo and Guard Break while also being teased by the Follow-up Attack mechanic. In addition, there are going to be minor shifts/changes to existing awakenings and latent awakenings.
All of these add tremendous potential and diversification to your teams and this article will take a look and examine how to make the most of them.
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Powercreep is a healthy aspect of any long standing game as it is what drives content forward as you need newer toys to tackle harder dungeons. However, one of the best aspects of PAD is that older cards become revitalized through new evolutions/buffs that can incorporate these new awakenings. This is great because you are not always chasing new cards and may have some hidden sleepers lying around in your Monster Box.
Since some of these awakenings are new, it will take time for more cards to acquire them and may feel restrictive as you can only use a few cards in the mean time.
7 combo awakening
The 7 Combo is perhaps the most powerful awakening to be released as is provides 2x damage for that card when achieving 7 or more combos. While 2x for a single card may feel okay at best, you have to remember that you have the potential to run a whole team of 7 combo cards which effectively grants you a total 2x multiplier that is controllable.
Unlike Killer awakenings, 7 combo awakenings have an inherent degree of control, especially if you run no skyfall leads as you can consciously match less combos to avoid dealing too much damage. This is vital when playing through end game content as you are forced to control your output against certain spawns.
Another beautiful aspect of 7 combos is that it shifts your playstyle to a more pure matching one as you simply want to maximize the board every single turn.
The heart cross meta was met with some anger and frustration due to the non-intuitive matching style that promoted lower combo counts. However, players who wished to keep pushing end game content were somewhat forced into using heart cross leaders as it was simply the strongest mechanic available at the time.
Thus, the 7 combo awakening is met with open arms as it is returning PAD to its former matching playstyle which is perhaps one of the driving forces behind people starting in the first place.
The 7 combo awakening is so powerful that even notoriously row-oriented leaders such as Dark Metatron as using TPA/combo oriented teams to deal damage. While stacking rows is beneficial, having the ability to simply combo every single board and sweep without using active skills is more ideal.
The meta is certainly shifting towards a more pure combo playstyle and I am glad this is the current direction PAD is taking. The combo-meta will only continue to solidify itself as more cards gain access to this awakening, but I do feel GH will begin to push out combo leaders with a twist very soon (think Fire Myr).
Being able to completely ignore defense has the most benefit against high defense encounters such as PreDRAs as you no longer require an active skill to counter them. This has the most applications in solo mode when you are more choosy with what actives/inherits you bring as you can organically deal with these encounters by simply matching.
However, not every team requires Guard Break for success. Naturally, it will have no merit in dungeons where no high defense spawns are present, but depending on the cards available to you, it may not always be worth pursuing.
I say this because of the rainbow activation clause as it may force you to run non-ideal cards which will lower your overall consistency against other meaningful encounters as we do have plenty of ways to bypass high defense monsters.
Presently, we have defense void, poison, and true damage actives as means to deal with high defense spawns and all of these can come with some form of collateral benefit. However, I want to highlight the growing power of Famiel and Lumiel .
Both Famiel and Lumiel are able to deal 100,000 true damage while producing a 4-element board that does not contain heart orbs. In the past, I have been quite critical of 4-element board changers as we were mostly running mono-colour row teams that were quite orb hungry and these tended to produce insufficient orbs for burst. However, the meta is shifting towards higher multiplier combo leaders and a 4-element board does produce sufficient damage. Furthermore, both Famiel and Lumiel produce the coveted dark orbs which are somewhat key to success.
As such, Famiel/Lumiel boards are viable solutions for dealing with high defense monsters and lowers the dependency on using the Guard Break awakening.
For instance, my Kushinadahime team is unable to feasibly accommodate a rainbow team despite owning a Claire who has Guard Break. As such, I simply choose to use my trio of Hakus and Claire while inheriting Lumiel to deal with the PreDRAs. This works perfectly fine for me and is just one example of where you can skip the Guard Break provided you have a better team to run that is not rainbow-based.
Finally, I want to stress that high multiplier leads such as Light Metatron (who actually has a Guard Break) do not need to build a rainbow team as you have more than enough damage to easily blow through the 10 million defense PreDRAs.
Resolve encounters cannot be killed when above a certain health threshold and required players to either survive the 1% attack, control their damage, or bring gravities to overcome. However, the Follow-up Attack completely negates this mechanic by simply matching a column of heart orbs.
By matching a column of heart orbs, you will deliver 1 true damage after your attack which will instantly kill the boss at hand. These follow up attacks are nothing new, but they were only available on leaders with poor multipliers which made them unappetizing overall. As such, by being able to simply use a sub to passively counter one of the more dangerous mechanics is simply amazing.
While a column of heart orbs will reduce your board down to a 5×5 size, you still have sufficient space compared to matching a heart cross for matching combos. In theory, you can still make 9 combos which should not put too much of a damper on combo-oriented leads (becomes easier on 7×6 boards). Sadly, row-based teams will not be able to capitalize on this mechanic unless you cascade into a skyfall of 5 heart orbs (not likely).
For Arena 3, you will be able to easily bypass Ilsix, Hino, Zeus & Hera, Zhao Yu, and Sha Wujing which will dramatically increase consistency and speed up clear times.
I feel this is somewhat akin to the Powercreep of Fujin as you can now bypass one of the hardest mechanics in the game with relative ease. However, once you taste Follow-up Attack, there will probably be no going back to the older strategies.
New awakenings announced in JP
JP has announced that they will be adding in new awakenings and latent awakenings that are quite powerful overall. You can find more information on this Reddit post which will link you to the JP notes.
These will all be available through Arena 2 and the 3-player Arena. This is quite wonderful as Arena 2 is already quite a bit easier to clear and provides incentive to actually play it.
The 5% HP and 10% RCV boost seem to be quite powerful as they are nearly on par with the solo badges and I am curious as to which cards will actually acquire these.
Powerful awakenings are an interesting way to advance Powercreep in PAD as overtime it will provide many different options as more and more cards acquire these awakenings. My hope is that wide array of cards are able to acquire them to help with team diversification and flexibility.
Which of these are you most excited about and how have you been using Guard Break at this point in time?
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