Team Building for Puzzle and Dragons in 2018 with Yusuke, Beach Barbara & Julie, Dark Metatron, & Edward


Team building in Puzzle and Dragons is an invaluable skill as it enables players to examine a dungeon and determine the best approach possible. Over the course of many years, the strategies used for team building have changed as it is largely defined by the types of mechanics players will face and what tools are currently available.

Presently speaking, the top tier teams are those that have high amounts of effective health (whether through HP or damage reduction) in order to withstand outrageously large preemptives or attacks. Unfortunately, just using a strong leader is not enough and having the right subs, inherits, and latents is mandatory to success.

Nowadays, players are able to better customize their teams to counter dungeons as we now have access to more inherits, latents, weapon assists, specialized awakenings, and more counters to common mechanics.

This article will be focusing on how to build a team to counter the dungeon at hand instead of specifically saying one must use XYZ team to succeed. In addition, I will be presenting some generic team building ideas for some of the more popular leaders today.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

PAD is a Puzzle game

This may seem like a redundant statement, but Puzzle and Dragons requires both orb matching skills as well as planning for the dungeon. All mechanics have some sort of counter and it is up to the player to determine the most efficient way to do so without compromising the overall team composition.

Over time, we have been given more tools for dealing with the same mechanic and this has dramatically expanded team building options. We are no longer forced to always bring the same card which is wonderful for players with less diverse Monster Boxes.

Choosing the right Leader

Leader Skills are far more varied compared to several years ago and this gives players more flexibility for playing through content. As such, different leaders can be used for the same dungeon but all those that are successful tend to share the same few traits.

High ATK Multipliers

Leader Skills are now able to hit amazing levels of damage output and this can be further bolstered by offensive awakenings. For example, (Pre-buff) Edward  and Vraska  have a “low” multiplier at 144x ATK but their effective damage is pushed up to 576x through their dual 7 Combo 45 awakenings.

With that being said, the key is to have sufficient damage to sweep the average floor without needing to use an active skill.

Activation consistency

Having a high ATK multiplier is great, but being able to activate nearly every turn from most given boards is invaluable. For example, dual Anubis 3385 is able to deal spectacular amounts of damage, but hitting 8 or more combos on a 6×5 board is not always possible along with having to dedicate an active skill to use every turn. As such, Anubis is not considered a top tier leader and while one can shore up some problems via 7×6, the active skill clause will slow him down.


Despite the fact that Leader Skills are now able to pump out amazing amounts of damage, it means nothing if they cannot take any form of punishment. As such, having access to some form of defensive multiplier has become vital when pushing through end game content.

Presently speaking, durability comes in several forms but they can be loosely grouped by the following:

  • High HP
  • High RCV
  • Blend of HP/RCV
  • Damage reduction

This is not an exhaustive list and it is possible for a leader to have several different components; however, the ease in which their RCV/damage reduction occurs can be a large determining factor for their potency.

High HP

Leaders with High HP are those that tend to have around 4x (with dual leaders) and this enables them to tank the largest preemptives in the game without an active skill. This can greatly ease team building as they are not required to bring any damage reduction to survive; however, they are often lacking an RCV component so they have to plan for gravities and repeated large attacks.

This was a major problem in the past, but with the current state of Enhanced Heal Orb +heart awakenings, it is possible for teams with no RCV multiplier to heal amazingly high amounts of health with each 4-heart match.

Damage reduction

Teams with damage reduction are able to reduce incoming attacks by a certain percent when their criteria is met. As such, the ease in which they gain access to their damage reduction tends to play a major role in their ability to clear content. The main advantage damage reduction teams have is that they are better able to deal with gravities as even those that exceed 100% of a player’s health will be reduced down to something that can be survived. Furthermore, a 50% damage reduction can be viewed as an effective 2x HP and this is useful for planning out preemptive tanking.

Presently speaking, any combination of high HP and damage reduction that grants a large amount of effective health is considered the best as the healing aspect can be solved via Enhanced Heal Orb +heart awakenings.

High RCV

High RCV teams tend to be those with 4x+ multipliers and can essentially heal back up to full with only 3 heart orbs. Unfortunately, these teams tend to be unable to survive large preemptives so shielding/damage reduction is a must. Thankfully, they tend to fare the best again Poison attacks/skyfalls as they can easily heal back up.

While large amount of RCV is nice, it does become somewhat redundant if one is continuously over-healing. As such, it is often beneficial to pair a high RCV card with someone else who provides a different benefit. Furthermore, Enhanced Heal Orb +heart awakenings have somewhat diminished the value of RCV leaders as the healing can be solved with 4-heart matches which can grant more effective health in the Leader Skill.

Blend HP/RCV

Blended teams are those that tends to have around 2.25x HP/RCV multipliers and they can be considered well rounded. They tend to be able to withstand most preemptives (barring Alt. Arena) while also being able to heal reasonably well. These types of teams tend to have a reasonably gentle time in team building and can either focus on more HP or RCV as needed. On that note, once a player is able to survive the largest reasonable attack, RCV tends to be more valuable as they will be better able to heal back up.

Common mechanics

This section will outline what are the more common mechanics as well as the various ways to overcome them. While there are often several options for bypassing a mechanic, some are more efficient than others. With that being said, one must try and counter as many mechanics possible without sacrificing utility against other spawns.

Damage Absorption

Damage absorption is perhaps the most universally hated mechanic in the game. This is because a boss will heal instead of taking damage if they were to suffer damage that exceeds their threshold.

For example, if a spawn absorbs 200,000 or more damage, any single hit above will heal them instead of dealing damage. This can potentially undo any progress made on them as a heavy skyfalled match will cause heal them to full.

In the past, damage control or lower ATK multiplier were able to slide under their thresholds but with higher damaging leads, it can sometimes become impossible to control one’s damage.

As such, the easiest solution is to use a Fujin  style active that will ignore the absorption for a single turn.

Spawns with Damage Absorption will have a pink shield icon on their left and the boss can also be tapped and held to display their full absorption information.

Damage Void

Damage Void is like Damage absorption in that a spawn will prevent damage over a certain threshold, but instead of healing the encounter, they will suffer 1 damage instead. This is far nicer overall as will not reset any progress made along with being counterable by an awakening (VDP ) instead of an active.

While one will almost always be using an active to set up a 3×3 box, the orb changers used can also be used against other spawns and does not become a “dead” active after the boss is defeated.

Spawns with Damage Void will have a grey/silver shield icon on their left and the boss can also be tapped and held to display their full void information.

Jammer/Poison skyfalls

There are some spawns that will produce long lasting skyfalls of either Jammer or Poison orbs. These will dilute the amount of useful orbs present and can prevent activation of leader skills.

Depending on the dungeon at hand, it can be worked around, but using any active with a Jammer/Poison skyfall buff will override the boss’s ability. At this point in time, Fenrir  tends to be the best option.

Poison encounters

Poison Skyfalls can only be countered via negative skyfall buff actives, but bosses that spawn Poison Orbs can be trivialized via Poison Resist Poison resist awakenings. Each awakening provides 20% immunity and can be stacked for 100% protection.

Generally speaking, using a Weapon Assist like Rathian  is the best solution as it does not modify the team composition and becomes a matter of not letting the inherited active charge up.


The Resolve mechanic is one of the older abilities in Puzzle and Drgaons as it enables a spawn to survive being killed when above a certain threshold. Furthermore, a monster that survives in this manner will be left with 1 HP which means they will usually perform their more lethal ability.

In the past, damage control and Gravities were used to bypass this mechanic, but we now have access to the Follow Up Attack  (FUA) awakening. FUA activates by forming a column of heart orbs and will deal 1 damage to the spawn after all other forms of damage have occurred. Thus, this single point of damage will kill the Boss when they are left at 1 HP and thus preventing their execution.

Resolve spawns have become so common that a team will almost always want to have a FUA card.

No Status Shield

For the most part, the majority of encounters have the Status Shield ability which prevents them from being delayed, DEF broken, or poisoned. Thankfully, there are still several lethal spawns that lack this ability and being able to delay, DEF break, or poison them can be invaluable. As such, having 1 delay tends to be advantageous in dungeons where it can be used as it can also be used as a stalling/healing point.

High DEF

We are now entering an era where numerous spawns have millions of Defense. The way Defense works is that it will prevent all incoming damage (down to 1) that is below their Defense value. Thus, players will have to have at least 1 card dealing higher damage in order to kill. While this can be overcome with high multipliers, bursts, or awakenings, using a DEF Break can be advantageous provided they have no Status Shield.

Awoken Binds

Awoken Binds are somewhat of a new mechanic and they cannot be resisted, only cleared via an active skill. Once bound, players will lose access to their awakenings which means they can be bound, deal less damage, and have lower movement time. As such, it is highly recommended one brings an appropriate active to counter this mechanic.

With that being said, if the Awoken Bind is short enough or one is using a durable leader, they can potentially stall through it.

Stronger leaders

There are numerous tier lists for Puzzle and Dragons and all tend to assume players have all possible options available which may not be realistic overall. As such, one should take any tier list with a grain of salt / view as a starting point as your own individual Monster Box will determine how will you can build their respective team.

With that being said, here are a few stronger leaders to keep in mind:

  •  Yusuke
  •  Beach Barbara & Julie
  •  Dark Metatron
  •  Edward

All 4 of these leaders feature varying degrees of survivability, high damage potential, and have relatively easy activation requirements. Furthermore, they are able to capitalize on various powerful subs to compliment their formidable Leader Skill.

If this section proves popular, I will make a subsequent post with these along with more leaders to provide a general framework for more powerful cards.


Yusuke is perhaps the most common leader in Puzzle and Dragons due to the fact that he was the first card available through the Monster Exchange system. As such, many players made their first trade here and the fact that he has gentle team building requirements helps him become more accessible overall.

In essence, Yusuke is a tanky combo-based leader as he requires Water and Light matches along with 7 combos to deal 225x ATK. Furthermore, he passively has 2.25x HP/RCV which enables him to withstand most attacks in the game while also being able to heal up accordingly.

Sub priority is given to Light cards (main or sub attribute) who feature 7 Combo 45 awakenings with the appropriate actives inherited as needed.

Some cards include, but not limited to:

  • Ideal 
  • Cottons  
  • Odin Dragon 3264
  • Edward 
  • Tachibana 
  • Yuna Yuna
  • Amatsu 

Essentially, use any Light card with 7 Combo and their Yusuke team will be able to clear plenty of content.

 Beach Barbara & Julie

Beach Barbara & Julie (BJ) hails from the Beach Rare Egg Machine and is an incredibly powerful and tanky leader. While she only features 144x ATK, her 6 Killer awakenings enables her to deal amazingly high amounts of damage to multi-type spawns. Furthermore, her ability to activate with only Water and Fire means she can sweep most floors with relative ease.

With that being said, her 4x HP is perhaps her strongest asset as she is able to withstand any incoming preemptive and most executions. This grants great stalling potential and the healing issue can be solved by a single Mel  or double Kuroyuri . As such, her team building requirements are reasonably gentle as she only requires Water or Fire cards (sub does not have to have both attributes) who ideally have the 7 Combo 45 awakenings.

Some cards include, but not limited to:

  • Cotton 
  • Amatsu 
  • Enra 
  • Mel 
  • Kuroyuri 
  • Jhoira 
  • Reincarnated I&I 
  • Beach Fujin 
  • Gabriel 
 Dark Metatron

Dark Metatron is often considered the strongest leader in the game due to her 4x HP, damage reduction, 225x ATK, and access to strong subs. Unfortunately, she also has the hardest team building requirements and a more rigid composition compared to everyone else here due to her God typing restriction. Furthermore, she tends to have low orb movement time due to the fact that her “core” subs and herself heavily lack Time Extends Time Extend.

With that being said, if one can puzzle quickly, she is a force to be reckoned with as she has the highest effective HP of any meta leader.

4x HP plus 43.75% damage reduction enables her to survive outrageously large attacks when matching 7 or more Combos. While the <80% HP condition can be restricting, the it should be reasonably easy to juggle your HP when you have over 140k in solo mode along with HP-modifying actives.

Dark Metatron teams feature a “core” set of 3 subs with the fourth one being flexible. This can be problematic as it can be hard to replace them but thankfully one is farmable.

Izanagi  boasts strong stats but it is his 3 turn active skill that provides 2x burst along with a -50% hp that sets him apart. This short cooldown enables him to carry an inherit or simply act as a reliable spike.

Eir  is the Dark equivalent to Mel  in that she provides Enhanced Heal Orb +heart awakenings which helps solve RCV issues. It is hard to replace Eir and the fact that she is farmable means there is technically no excuse for not having one.

Finally, the last “core” sub for Dark Metatron is a FUA  with Planar  being the best option due to her Time Extends Time Extend, high weighted stats, and favourable awakenings.

Of course players can still clear plenty of content if lacking these subs, it will just be a bit harder.

Possible other subs include, but not limited to:

  • Kami 
  • Myr 
  • Reincarnated I&I 
  • NY Yomi 
  • Yomi 
  • Oku 2985
  • Durga 

Edward has just received a massive buff to his Leader Skill along with the ability to gain a third 7 Combo 45 awakening. This propels his total damage to new highs while still retaining his amazing damage reduction.

When above 50% HP (after healing), Edward is able to enjoy 57.75% damage reduction. This is pretty amazing as he can still stay above 50% from a 99% gravity along with being able to tank large amounts of damage without additional shielding. Furthermore, his 196x ATK combined with his triple 7 Combos enables him to deal massive amounts of damage.

Team building Edward will look quite similar to Yusuke  with the exception that can use any sub along with any type of board changer. Of course one should still place emphasis on Light cards to take advantage of Edward’s active along with having full rainbow coverage (main or sub attribute) to facilitate his Skill Charge . Finally, cards with high HP are preferred as it gives him a larger >50% HP range.

Potential subs include, but not limited to:

  • Ideal 
  • Cottons  
  • Odin Dragon 3264
  • Yusuke 
  • Tachibana 
  • Yuna Yuna
  • Amatsu 
  • Light Ney 
  • Nees 

Team building for a dungeon

As mentioned above, teams are less rigid compared to before as we now have more cards that can fulfill similar roles. Thus, it becomes an issue of determining the most lethal dungeon mechanics and bringing an appropriate counter. It is best to prioritize the area where you will foresee the most trouble but not over-committing and leaving yourself with not enough answers to other spawns.

If you find yourself unable to overcome a dungeon easily with a particular team and feel it is not a puzzling issue (orb movement), it may be best to find a different team/composition to use.


Team Building in Puzzle and Dragons is a vital skill to master as it will help yield more consistent clears. While having strong orb matching abilities is essential, using the wrong team will often result in more problems that cannot be puzzled away.

If the sample team builds prove popular, I will make a subsequent follow up post expanding the list as well as detail for each leader.

Happy Puzzling!

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46 thoughts on “Team Building for Puzzle and Dragons in 2018 with Yusuke, Beach Barbara & Julie, Dark Metatron, & Edward”

  1. Ooooh. Very good points. You don’t post many team building guides that often, but I really enjoy reading them. Would happily read more on other common leaders such as Reeche, Madoo, Suou, Roche, Mega Ryune/Sylvie, and other leads recently dominating tier lists.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking at your lists, I have most of the perfect subs. But none of the leaders.
    At the moment I play mostly Reeche(just missing a good VDP option for rainbow leads like maybe Odin. But also Vraska and Kaede.
    Just not sure about Ameno or Yog as a light leader. I think I am missing some options.

    Anyway, with 50 of the 100 extra stones I was able to get me 2x Tardis.


    1. As someone that runs him often Ed has been a great leader, then Ameno can act as the VDP option for you. Maybe look at exchange when he comes back. I


    2. Ameno is a wonderful a3 farming leader as he comes with essentially all the solutions needed to sweep the dungeon

      Vraska teams can be wonderfully potent for end game content with the right set up


      1. Isn’t Ameno about rows? And Yog more about 7c?
        What does my light box has:
        Ameno, 2x Yog, Saria, 2x Tachibana, Sakuya, 2x Astraea, Lugh, 2x Rathios, Revo Rathios, Yuki Tomoe, LCotton, Revo Ganesha, Sun Wukong, Alcyone.
        So for me it is something about Yog with LCotton, Tachibana, RSakuya and something else for 7c. Or Ameno with Astraea, Saria, Lugh and 2x Rathios inherits.


  3. Nice man, glad to see team building are back.

    Well, my Dmeta team didn’t take off, and is collecting dust at the moment (box reasons).

    I tried Sherias, but gravity will be a problem there, Sarasvati in another hand can use Mel as FUA & Heal, and I have Atalanta from GH collab (3 water in 2cd + 7c).
    And yeah! I have Mori(s) & Weld(s) inherited, so I can pair Saras with Barbara&Julie as well.

    Something that doesn’t have super HP, but is extremely strong and can take most of the end game content nowadays is Reeche.
    I got her, but I’m not actually using, because I’m pairing my Yuki with my Reeche BF instead, but team build ideas sounds good for her (and also madoo I guess)

    Cheers 😛


    1. Reeche is quite a powerful leader as the active can be charged in 10 turns which is pretty amazing. I have several alt arena clears with Reeche x Jhoira (some coop maybe 1 solo)

      Tinker around with that and use double/triple 7c cards as a subs

      Liked by 1 person

  4. my alt acct team:

    when valkyrie ciel comes to NA i plan to replace raijin with her. also i couldnt get eir on that acct so this is the team


  5. Great article! If you’re going to write about other leaders, can you consider Sherias Roots? Thanks, and keep up tomhe good work!


  6. Revo Lucifer should be mentioned as a Metatron sub. Not only does he have a useful active, his awakenings also fit beautifully on her team!


  7. I have Ideal and Karin Shindou but I do not have Edward and Yusuke yet. Out of those rainbow leads, which one is the best leader (considering you have all the necessary subs)? I also have Dark Metatron and Blue Yog. Can you rank these leaders?


  8. Do you think you could also perhaps make a leaders post for the five Witches? Seeing as most people have at least one of them by now due to that recent event.


  9. How do you feel about Wedding Raijin as a FUA option on DMeta now that she received buffs? Her ATK got a huge boost, and would help with damage given her 2x 7c (assuming SA) especially with I&I on the team.


    1. Main issue is she is “off colour” and her active does not offer much

      Furthermore, with a 7c in SA means she has less value in coop

      I would personally run Myr in solo mode as she is on colour and has better stats


  10. I hope this ends up becoming popular!
    Now onto a question for Edward- for a skill unbinding sub, which would you prefer? Odin dra, Double 7c Revo Sakuya or Ren Amamiya?


  11. These are one of my favorite guides! Very informative and super helpful. Thank you!

    I would love to see another post with other leaders, such as mega roots, zela, madoo, ryune, and yog.

    It is hard to find good teambuilding guides outside of the occasional reddit post.


  12. What about dark megatron as a sub for dark megatron? I rolled 2 in the last week. I can’t sell the 2nd. Please tell me to use her or I’m going to be very sad.


    1. Do not sell

      As for a sub, she works for sure but is a bit redundant and depends on your team comp. Who do you use on your Metatro team?

      Also, you can always inherit Dark Metatron on herself


  13. Is valkyrie ciel as good as bj? My subs for her is 2 ideals, light cotton and yuna, but I feel like the damage output isnt as good as a bj team


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