PAD Special Event Tournament 3 Strategies


The PAD Special Event Tournament is in full swing and gives players the chance at acquiring a Crown for the top 7%. For the most part, this is a generous range to acquire the primary cosmetic feature in Puzzle and Dragons. Unfortunately, the heavily weighted Matching Bonuses combined with certain teams being vastly superior may feel frustrating for the average player.

This article will explain my though process and team building for scoring well in the PAD Special Event Tournament.

184,506 run

My best recorded run but has room for improvement

Rows are king

The PAD Special Event Tournament features Matching Bonus (additional points for matching specific patterns) with all Rows boosted to 10x their regular value. As a result, any Row matched will yield +2,000 Points and makes it the only real viable strategy.

With this in mind, players should utilize 7×6 boards as it can potentially hold 6 Rows but even matching 4-5 is quite amazing. For this reason, many strategies revolve around not killing a floor and trying to run the timer as close to 0 seconds to match more Rows. This results in wildly varying scores in the top percentile as even being able to squeeze in one additional board can result in thousands of additional points.

Just be aware that you actually need to have the respective Row awakening (Fire Row Water Row Wood Row Light Row Dark row) to actually trigger the Matching Bonus. With this in mind, players can either run subs with those awakenings or gain them via Weapon Assists.

Finally, Matching Bonuses will NOT occur if you run into negative time. As such, it is imperative to try and finish before the timer reaches 0.

Bicolour +2 Haste boards

Due to minimal mechanics in the dungeon, the leading strategy is to run Bicolour boards that come with +2 Haste. This enables players to simply run 5 cards with this ability and continuously spam board changers for maximum points.

This spam-ability is what results wildly varying scores in the Crown range as few players have the right cards for the team.

Barring a perfect looping Haste system of Bicolour boards, players can opt for a Tricolour single Haste system. This is still effective but will be slower overall due to the fact that it is easier to match 2 colours.

Just be aware that you ideally wish to run boards that produce no Heart orbs as they do not provide Matching Bonuses. Furthermore, a BIcolours +2 Haste system does require a +1 Haste every 6 turns to complete the System.

Notable dungeon mechanics

The dungeon features few mechanics overall with the exception of 2 floors.

Floor 4

Floor 4 has a three turn preemptive Awoken Skill Bind which prevents Matching Bonuses from occurring. As such, it is mandatory to actually run an Awoken Bind clear. The ideal option for the Bicolour Haste system is Jhoira as she provides a single turn of Haste (which keeps the System going) but utilizing Odysseus works quite well as she also provides a Tricolour board with no Hearts. Matching the Tricolour board will enable the other cards to come back up and also closes the System.

Floor 8

Floor 8 is the final floor of the PAD Special Event Tournament 3 and features Sonia Gran and her 50% Resolve. This self resurrection mechanic is abused to continuously kill and revive her to score more points via Matching Bonuses; however, players must have a plan on how to control their damage to slide under her 50% threshold.

This tactic will vary from team to team and comes down to practice/experimentation on how to best achieve this.

Leader Skills to use

Using a 7×6 board will grant additional rows when using a various board changers so it should be pursued in virtually every scenario. On the other hand, using a leader that restricts matches to 4 orbs will result in higher scores overall.

This is because the vast majority of points are scored via Rows which means Skyfalls will actually hurt your overall score. Thus, the match-4 clause prevents most unwanted matches from occurring which results in faster solves and translates into more boards to be solved. This is relatively min-max strategy but if it can be utilized, it is worth pursuing. For reference, saving 1 second per board solve will enable players to use an extra board changer which can yield 8,000-12,000 more points.

Finally, players will need to have Leader Skills that enable some form of Damage Control in order to bypass Sonia Gran’s Resolve.

Teams to run

From my above example, I simply spammed Bicolour double Haste boards from my army of Christmas Sonias along with using two Skill Boost Weapon Assists in order to have my actives ready for Floor 1. I opted for using Inahime as he fulfills the match-4 clause along with 7×6 in order to pair with a fifth Christmas Sonia.

For the most part, the team plays quite straight forward as it is simply a manner of matching the Fire/Wood boards.

In an ideal world, players would utilize a max-skilled Keela with Jhoira inherited to only match Bicolours as my set up cannot perfectly loop and I need to use Inahime’s base active at least once.

Barring numerous Bicolour +2 Haste set ups, many players have opted for using a similar strategy through the Chinese Celestials (eg. Awoken Leilan) With the exception of Sakuya, all of them have a Tricolour board with a single turn of Haste which means they can complete a system by using 5 of them. Furthermore, they can be used as a leader when paired with Odysseus and only require Row Equips as Skill Boosts can be covered on their own. This is a much more budget friendly approach to this Ranking Dungeon but will unfortunately yield lower scores as players cannot tap into Match-4 along with 3 elemental boards taking longer to solve along with often having fewer rows.

The Chinese Celestial system is what I plan on running for Pancaaake and MOMtastic.

Finer scoring points

Despite the fact that the team building requirements for this Ranking Dungeon are quite strict, there are several things one can do to help min-max their score. None are mandatory so to speak but can help bolster your score in subtle ways.

Use leaders restricted to match-4

Combo count is not the determining factor in this Ranking Dungeon so not having Skyfalls/being unable to match smaller combos aids in speed and using more Row boards.

Use different colour subs

Every time a card attacks there will be some animation for each colour matched. These pings only contribute a small amount of time but greatly add up over the course of a long dungeon. In the case of the PAD Special Event Tournament 3, players are often trying to utilize the full 300 seconds and will solve many boards over the course of the dungeon. As such, reducing a few colour pings can enable players to use another board to solve rows which can boost their score by 8,000-12,000. This is part of the reason why the scores can widely vary in the upper percentiles.

With this in mind, my own Christmas Sonia army works against me as every turn I am “enjoying” 12 pings of animation.

Match only rows

Due to the top scores hovering around the mid-high 5 combos, actually matching an additional combo that is not a Row is detrimental. This is because these strategies take numerous turns to finish the dungeon and each extra combo matched will only contribute a tiny amount of points. Furthermore, the extra time/animation of an additional combo could potentially eat into an additional board solve resulting in a significant point loss.

Match faster

This sounds pretty obvious but I want to drive home the point that players should quickly match their Rows and not worry about the leftover orbs. Ideally the only time players 6-combos a board is when it is a perfect 6-row board or on Cauchemar who has a 6-combo shield.


The PAD Special Event Tournament 3 is a reasonably unfair Ranking Dungeon as it heavily favours players with the more ideal teams. Despite the fact that a Bicolour +2 Haste team is “farmable” via Monster Points, the cost and current unavailability prevents most players from actually using it.

In essence, it is Rows or go home and players will have to exercise varying degrees of creativity to find a team that can produce the most number of Rows for as many turns as possible.

Let me know what you are using for this event along with how you feel about non-Fixed teams with heavy Matching Bonuses.

Happy Puzzling!

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14 thoughts on “PAD Special Event Tournament 3 Strategies”

  1. I don’t remember the exact drop rate for collab&event REM, but If one 6-star yusuke took me 71 rolls in total, imagine how much FOUR of 7-star sonias gonna cost! TBH I’m more impressed by the team itself rather than crowning that dungeon.


    1. If I recall it correctly, these sonias are available in the mp shop for 300k each
      still amazed though, last time I used MP was for odindra and never thought is there anything useful in there


  2. Great write-up! Any idea when the Sonia’s will be available for MP purchase again?? Def gonna pick some up next time they’re avail as I don’t need the bicolor haste system declining in value any time soon for ranking dungeons – correct me if I’m wrong!

    As for the Chinese gods series- I have about 3 of them, along with odysseys. Also have some bicolors (no haste) to fill in the rest of the subs. Who do you recommend for as a lead for the Chinese gods series?

    Thanks again for all your advice


    1. The Sonias should be back by for Christmas and maybe mid year for a special event

      As for your team, I would lead with the one that can activate from all colours available. Eg. using Meimei if your other boards produce any 2 of Wood, Light, or Dark


  3. Thanks for the idea. Used a similar idea but with Blue instead of red. Used Nene lead, 4 Mori’s and my only Christmas Sonia (for red row access) and managed to hit top 5%. Probably could do better, but I’m happy just cracking enough for a crown. This makes crown #2 on an entirely F2P account =)


  4. Can you explain more about the Celestial system? I can’t seem to do enough damage to finish before my time goes negative. I’ve got Leilan as leader, along with 2 more Leilans and 2 Meimeis, with inherits to give me full row awakening coverage. I’ve tried partnering with both a Jhoira and an Odysseus, and in both cases I get to negative time by floor 6. Are you using a non-Celestial as the leader?


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