The Monster Exchange system is one of the better aspects of Puzzle and Dragons as it allows players to access cards that would normally be too difficult to acquire otherwise. By being able to trade in several other cards for something of value can greatly advance your progress but it is not without drawbacks.
The card you are trading for will cost 4 or 5 rare cards and the value they bring to your Monster Box must last for a prolong period of time to justify this trade.
With this in mind, I want to outline how I approach Monster Exchanging for top rarity Collab/Seasonal cards by explaining my own mental checklist.
This article is based on my own goals and approach to playing the game which may be different compared yours so use these thoughts as a starting point, not absolute truths.
–video coming soon–
Monster Exchange system
At the time, Yusuke was one of the best leaders in the game as he has strong multipliers, synergistic active, gentle team building requirements, and powerful awakenings. This made him potentially the best leader for many Monster Boxes and the Monster Exchange was heavily used by many players.
Being able to acquire what was arguably the best leader in the game at that time by sacrificing four 6* GFE instead of countless Magic Stones in an average Collab was too good to pass up on and my friends list quickly became flooded with Yusukes.
This situation highlighted the main appeal for the Monster Exchange system: no Magic Stones were needed and players could avoid all the junk/filler cards in a Collab to acquire the important prize. Unfortunately, using the Monster Exchange is a costly procedure and we do not have unlimited trade fodder available.
Regardless, this was a step in the right direction as players could now draw upon dupes of less used cards to acquire something of tremendous value right now.
Finite Trade Fodder
What keeps any game interesting for a prolong period of time is a continuous stream of new/harder content along with new cards to deal with them. This is essentially Powercreep and assuming you do not have unlimited Magic Stones or ridiculous luck, you will not be able to have everything you want.
This concept of working with limited resources is actually what makes PAD fun and further solidifies the notion that Puzzle and Dragons is not a game for quick gratification, but instead a game of continuous, albeit slower satisfaction.
With this in mind, players must plan for the future when using the Monster Exchange system as trades will be seldom made and we want to gain as much value as possible.
What I have traded for
Yusuke was part hype, part practicality as I was fortunate enough to roll Edward early in the year but would only be able to coop with myself via Yusuke. Both leaders have their own pros and cons but having Yusuke did open up more 2p adventures along with having a stellar VDP card.
On the other hand, Beach Barbara & Julie was perhaps less needed as i already had Edward and Yusuke but they did open up new team compositions along with being exceptionally strong in 3p Arena 2 which I play often on Stream . She also opened up the possibility to fully activate without hitting 7 combos which makes both Resolve and Void spawns easier.
Aside from these, there has been temptations but nothing that I was desperate enough to trade for. This is partially due to a lack of Trade Fodder along with the possible cards not bringing enough value to my Monster Box.
My mental checklist
Whenever a new card is released, there is a certain degree of hype or excitement along with the temptation to acquire them. As such, I have developed a mental checklist for evaluating whether or not a card is needed in order to avoid making a poor, long term decision.
Can I afford it?
The first thing that comes to my mind for Monster Exchanging or really anything in the real world is “can I afford it?” Depending on the rarity of the desired card, I will need 4-5 Trade Fodder of a certain rarity and it is quite easy to determine if you have the necessary cards to exchange with.
With that being said, I do not want to trade away any card that I have only a single copy of. This is because cards, especially Godfest Exclusives, are buffed/improved on a regular basis and it is impossible to predict how strong they will be in 6 months time nor what the meta will be.
For example, Fenrir Viz always had some God Killing potential but was almost a meme due to the idea of a Jammer-based team and little applications upon their debut. Amusingly, they have become one of the more desired Light subs in their current form due to their 1-turn cooldown that causes a Jammer Skyfall while having solid stats and powerful God Killing potential.
This is just one example of a card that went from zero to hero overnight due to a new evolution. Thus, I am loathe to ever trade away any card I have only a single copy of.
Why do I want it?
After determining whether or not I can afford the desired card, I have to determine why they are desirable. What do they bring to the table that gets me excited or am I falling into the hype trap? Does it offer a new and powerful Leader Skill mechanic or can they function as a new superstar sub?
Understanding your motivations/rationale for a card can help you come to a better decision for whether or not you want this card.
Does it surpass my current options?
After determining why I want a certain card and knowing I can afford it, I then look at my current Monster Box and figure out if it does surpass my current options.
My logic for Monster Exchanging is that it must surpass my current cards by a sizable amount to justify the cost. I want to acquire a significant upgrade, not a side-grade or flavour of the month card.
For example, Zela Kitty was one of the best leaders upon her debut but their success heavily hinged upon having duplicate Zelas and Yoh’s Weapon Assist which I did not have. Despite the fact that I could afford the trade, I would not be able to field a team that would be stronger compared to what I already have. As a result, I decided not to trade for her.
How long will they remain relevant?
How long a card will remain relevant is difficult to say as everything eventually gets Powercrept over time. With that being said, leaders tend to die out faster compared to subs and inherits.
This is because Leader Skills can only have so much variation and it is easy to slightly increase the multipliers to create a stronger card. By comparison, subs are somewhat “locked” in their power potential due to the less ways to improve a card without going overboard.
For example, increasing a leader’s ATK multiplier from 15x to 16x results in a jump to 256x from 225x. This is not too outrageous and while this is an improvement, it can be done in a slower/more manageable manner. By comparison, it is harder to improve a sub via awakenings as the jump is significantly faster. Giving a card an extra 7 Combo is a massive spike in their power potential and is one reason why we only have one card with four 7 Combos ().
As such, if a sub has a unique kit, fulfills a specific role better compared to other options (eg. Eir ), or offers a notable step up in offensive capabilities (eg. Slayer ), they tend to last longer.
With this in mind, it can create an interesting conundrum: leaders tend to advance you faster through content as they play the biggest role in your chances for success but at the same time, are the most likely card to be Powercrept. As such, if you are exchanging for a leader, they must be significantly stronger compared to your other options as they should enable you to clear new content.
The Monster Exchange system is one of the better aspects of Puzzle and Dragons as it allows players to skip a poor event and only acquire a specific card without spending Magic Stones.
For myself, I believe the Monster Exchange system should dramatically advance your progress in order to justify the loss of 4-5 cards.
The above checklist is my own personal approach and is not the only way to evaluate whether or not a card should or should not be exchanged for.
Let me know how you approach the Monster Exchange system and how you rationalize/determine the viability for acquiring a specific monster in the comments below.
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