Category Archives: Meta Snapshots

[Meta Snapshots] Damage Absorption was a Mistake in Arena-Style Content


Puzzle and Dragons is one of the most complex and content heavy games on the market due to the numerous years it has been available. For more veteran players, many aspects may feel like second nature, but when you take a step back and think about Resolve, Weapon Assists, Super Awakenings, Ranking Dungeons, or even simpler things such as Team Building, one may realize there is so much going on.

Due to the sheer volume of content available it is inevitable some mechanics will be better received compared to others but one thing GungHo tends to reuse older mechanics but make it harder by ramping up the numbers or combining several aspects at the same time.

Sadly, Damage Absorption is one mechanic that has been kept around and is the worst designed ability in Puzzle and Dragons. This is because the HP values have kept going up along with damage output which makes it impossible to not hit over the threshold without an active skill being used. As a result, every team must bring at least 1 Damage Absorption Void active in order to actually finish a dungeon in this day and age. While more options have become available over time, the fact that you need an active to counter this in order to pass a dungeon is not a fun way to play the game.

Video commentary

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Brief history of PAD dungeons

Puzzle and Dragons is one of the oldest and deepest mobile games on the market. Like any game, PAD started out reasonably simple and the main appeal was the orb matching component. As such, the spawns found within dungeons were relatively static in that they only had a health value, defense, and a single attack value. Continue reading [Meta Snapshots] Damage Absorption was a Mistake in Arena-Style Content

[Meta Snapshots] Transformation Leaders


The leadership landscape of Puzzle and Dragons has greatly changed over the years with various playstyles emerging to counter the current hardest content available.

Change is needed for any longstanding game as it would become stale if the same content was continuously reused and having new toys to work with is also exciting.

At this point in time, the current strongest leader skill mechanics to abuse are 7×6 boards and Auto Follow Up Damage. A larger board greatly benefits essentially every team for both combo count, damage output, and activation consistency whereas Auto Follow Up Damage trivializes Resolve spawns. Furthermore, teams that can combine both mechanics will have a further advantage compared to other options.

With that being said, I wish to take a closer look at how Transformation cards (eg. Fagan Rai ) function in Puzzle and Dragons as I feel GungHo is going to start pushing this mechanic in the future. This will force players to run different team compositions (Skill Boost Skill Boost becomes highly prized) which inevitably means players will need to roll more to get on this hype train.

Video commentary

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How Transformation cards work

Transformation cards come in a pre-Transform state and can only be “evolved” within a dungeon after having their active skill charge up. This will unlock a completely new kit with significantly improved awakenings, stats, and leader skill. With that being said, their Base form is often lacking and requires careful team building with a heavy emphasis on Skill Boosts in order to Transform on turn 1.

For example, Fagan Rai requires 22 Skill Boosts to Transform and provides zero in his Base form. This means you must find 22 Skill Boosts between 4 Dragon subs and 6 inherits in order to be truly successful (depending on the dungeon it may be possible to stall a turn or two but you are quite weak).

With this in mind, it can become quite a challenge for solo mode players who do not possess more of the luxurious cards/inherits. As such, many players have taken a coop approach as Skill Boosts are shared. This greatly lessens the Skill Boost burden per card or players will simply opt for Coop Disconnect.

Disconnecting from Coop will revert you back to solo mode which will provide Super Awakenings while retaining the Skill Boosts from your former partner. You do lose out on a Solo Mode badge but it is a sacrifice worth making.

This approach works well for players who have an alt account as you can sacrifice their stamina in order to enjoy 50% off for your Main.

Transformation cards must be stronger

Due to the dependency on Skill Boosts, Transformation cards must be stronger compared to cards of a similar rarity otherwise, they would simply be passed over for other options.

While Fagan Rai is powerful, he was the first Transforming card we have access to along with him being “free” (one of two possible Medal redeems) probably resulted in him being on the lower end of the power spectrum.

With that being said, future Transforming cards will most likely be even stronger and if we do get the Yu-Gi-Oh Collab, we will have access to a truly outrageous leader.

Now don’t get me wrong, we need to have Powercreep in Puzzle and Dragons in order to keep it fresh/exciting but I am not a huge fan of the whole Transformational idea.

Why I dislike Transforming

The concept of a card that can Transform within the dungeon is a pretty neat concept, I do not feel it will not provide much value for the overall health of the game.

This is because they will be stronger compared to other options but at least looking at Yu-Gi-Oh, they are not changing how we play the game, only how we team build.

Right now, Transforming cards have restrictions on the types of subs they can bring but at the same time must still meet the high Skill Boost requirements. This combination of a restrictive sub pool who then must have numerous Skill Boosts will drastically lower team building options and variety (assuming no Coop Disconnect).

At this point in time, I already feel we are somewhat restricted in terms of team building with many of my teams recycling the same set of subs and inherits and this problem will only grow worse with Transforming.

From a business point of view, it is a money maker as players will want to have the best possible team available and not only do they need the leader, but they will need the key set of subs and inherits.

As such, my biggest fear will be a repeat of Ra Dragon 3265 in that what was arguably the best team in the game having an unbelievably restrictive team composition. Furthermore, if we do receive several Transforming cards, dungeons will most likely increase in difficulty to compensate. This is a relatively natural cycle for PAD but having the best teams available having incredibly restrictive requirements is not healthy while probably being locked behind 7* GFE/9* Seasonals/Top rarity Collab cards etc.

My fear/concern is not having new cards that are more powerful, but new cards that are highly restrictive in terms of team building. In essence, my main dislike is how restrictive team building may become along with the jump in dungeon powercreep we may see in the future that pseudo requires Transforming to succeed.

Can Transforming be balanced?

I feel the entire concept of Transforming is difficult to balance as they have to be stronger compared to non-Transforming options otherwise players would not go through the hassle of bringing enough Skill Boosts to make it work.

I guess it would come down to how strong the actual card is along with the Skill Boosts required to Transform. With that being said, I feel they should at least offer a new mechanic, not just stronger parameters of what is currently available.

One idea that I have been thinking about is the concept of an “extra life” or Secondary Health Pool that triggers when you die. For example, this Secondary Health Pool could be 50% of your maximum HP and upon taking lethal damage, any overkill is assigned to this new Health Pool and if you survive, that is your new health for the dungeon.

For example if you take 125,000 damage and you have 100,000 HP, The Secondary Health Pool would take effect and you would then be left with 25,000/50,000 HP and this is what you play with for the rest of the dungeon. Yes it would be harder but it would also mean you may squeak out a victory that would have not occurred otherwise. Furthermore, maybe there is a mechanic to fully restore your maximum HP such as healing an exceptionally high number over time (eg. healing 2,000,000 HP from Heart orbs). Once doing that you return to your 100,000 HP pool but will no longer benefit from this revive mechanic. On the other hand, maybe this Secondary Health Pool could unlock new abilities/benefits while managing some sort of drawback.

This type of mechanic would most likely encourage Asymetrical Pairings (using two different leaders) which would also lower the Skill Boost requirements as there is a strong likelihood the second leader does not Transform.


Cards that can transform within a dungeon is one of the newest mechanics to be released within Puzzle and Dragons which will most likely open the door to new and powerful teams.

In essence, Transforming cards must be stronger compared to other options in order to justify the Skill Boost requirements along with possible compromises made to your subs/inherits. As such, my largest fear will be a new era of highly restrictive team building that does not actually introduce new mechanics, just stronger multipliers of existing cards.

With that being said, I am glad new content is being continuously added into the game even if I do not like the direction it could possibly go.

Regardless, let me know what you think about Transforming cards in the comments below and whether or not you can think of a possible solution/remedy to these cards.

Happy Puzzling!

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[Meta Snapshot] Are 10-Magic Stone REMs Good for PAD?


Puzzle and Dragons is one of the oldest mobile games in the industry and has gone through countless changes. At this point in time, the meta largely revolves around rare Collab/Seasonal cards which are often best acquired through the Monster Exchange System with 6 and 7 star Godfest Exclusives being the most used fodder.

To a certain extent, the rolling side of PAD has become a game of acquiring as much Trade Fodder as possible to use during special events (tends to be “easier” compared to rolling the 2-2.5% for the specific card). To perhaps complicate matters further, forgone are the days of 5-Stone Godfests and most events now have 10-Magic Stone REMs.

From my own experience with other mobile gatcha games (Fire Emblem Heroes and Creature Quest), neither of them feature more expensive machines, they simply improve the rolling rates for better events while keeping the cost the same.

By comparison, PAD is flooded with more expensive machines that promise better cards overall but are they really a good thing in the long run?

This article will explore my thoughts on how 10-Stone machines are effecting the landscape of PAD for both non-IAP and IAP (In App Purchases) players.

Video commentary

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PAD REMs compared to other games

The only other gatcha games I have experience with are Fire Emblem Heroes (FEH) and Creature Quest (CQ).

I have played FEH for a couple of years, albeit casually as I mostly play it while using an exercise bike in the morning and I float around Tier 20 in Arena and Tier 23 in Aether Raids. I try to keep up with Powercreep but due to how generous the game is with non-orb resources, it is possible to keep somewhat abreast through lower rarity merges. Continue reading [Meta Snapshot] Are 10-Magic Stone REMs Good for PAD?

[Meta Snapshots] Old Pantheon Cards Should have Weapon Assists


During the past few weeks while I have had an increase in health problems, I have had a modest amount of time to try and plan out new types of content to produce for your reading pleasure and have decided to pursue articles that discuss the current meta in Puzzle and Dragons and is more of a conversational piece as opposed to a Review.

My thought process is I wish to share various ideas that have been bouncing around my head or conversations I have had with friends and other PADdicts. These are easier and quite a bit of fun to write and would appreciate any feedback you have. Regardless, I wish to thank all of my readers for your continuous support and understanding these past few weeks.


I have been thinking of ways to help revitalize older Pantheon cards and have come the conclusion that Super Reincarnated forms are not doing the trick. This is because they require both an exorbitant amount of Monster Experience along with modestly difficult to acquire Evolution materials for what usually amounts to an underwhelming card. While these cards do have merits to less developed boxes/newer accounts, the odds of those players being able to acquire them is slim and also runs the risk of being invalidated by rolling in Collab/Seasonal events.

I am well aware that GungHo is a company that needs to make money and by having the best cards being the rarest makes sense. With that being said, we are currently ‘enjoying’ an era where the best teams are mostly comprised of rare Collab/Seasonals and 7* Godfest Exclusives for all aspects of team building.

This is a far cry from several years ago when some Farmables and many Pantheon cards were considered valuable to own. Of course the rarer cards were still top tier, but at least we had more options overall.

Taking this into consideration, I still feel the best way to revive the Pantheon series is to give them Weapon Assists .

Video commentary

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Current state of the game

At this point in time, the meta is largely defined by teams with High Effective Health who can also tap into reliable ATK activation along with an easier time for dealing with Void plus Resolve spawns. Building upon this, the two strongest abilities are 7×6 boards and/or Auto Follow Up Damage. Furthermore, we are also starting to see a greater shift towards solo play in difficult content as many teams rely on their Super Awakenings to overcome various spawns. Continue reading [Meta Snapshots] Old Pantheon Cards Should have Weapon Assists

Meta Snapshot & Ways to Improve PAD


The landscape of Puzzle and Dragons has changed and shifted over the years and we are currently enjoying an era of durable leaders who can naturally survive any preemptive in the game along with boasting solid multipliers.

A few months ago, the top teams were largely defined by pure combos but we are now starting to see blob-based teams take hold due to various new mechanics. For example, many of these can activate from fewer combos or their leader skill grants bonus combos for matching their specific pattern. Either way, this makes performing VDP  + FUA is much easier which has become the norm in high end content.

This article will look at what makes a card powerful along with current trends I feel are playing a major role in shaping the PAD landscape.

Video commentary

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Current trends

High Effective health

At this point in time, all strong leaders have a certain degree of Effective HP (HP multipliers or Damage Reduction) which enables them to naturally survive large preemptives without active skill intervention. This is important as eases team building requirements along with having the opportunity to stall should the need arise. Continue reading Meta Snapshot & Ways to Improve PAD

A Closer Look: Super Follow Up Attack and Zela


Super Follow Up Attack (SFUA) has been in the game for quite some time now and was mostly a meme/joke upon the initial release. This is because it provided 2 pings of FUA damage but required 9 Heart orbs in a 3×3 Box. The initial thought process was that it could enable Row-based teams to still achieve a horizontal match, but Rows never took off and the higher orb count made it impractical compared to a regular Follow Up Attack (column of 5 Hearts).

As such, Super Follow Up Attack was mostly ignored outside of niche Ranking Dungeons where it awarded Style Points. With that being said, Super Follow Up Attack may be beginning to make a comeback due to the Leader Skills that rely on blobs to activate, the ability for it to be inherited via Weapon Assists , the ability to provide 2x ATK for the owning card, and Zela .

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Super Follow Up Attack

Super Follow Up Attack requires a 3×3 Box of Heart orbs to activate and will provide the owning card 2x ATK along with 2 damage of follow up pings. The primary use is for dealing with resolve spawns but will almost always require an active skill to work. Continue reading A Closer Look: Super Follow Up Attack and Zela

REM Rates Revealed


As part of Apple’s new policy, companies must now disclose rolling/summoning rates for their Monetized Loot Boxes. As such, GungHo has complied and recently revamped the REM right before releasing the new rolling rates (more can be reading and my thoughts on the REM Renewal can be found HERE).

The rolling rates disclosed only apply to the Renewed REM or other machines that require Magic Stones while PAL Points and Rank 50 Rolls will not be revealed.

With the rates being officially revealed in North America today, we can now make an informed decision as to whether we should roll or not.

Despite taking a quick glance at what looks like depressingly low odds, this change is actually positive overall.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Gatcha games

Puzzle and Dragons is a Gatcha-style game that utilizes a Progression-oriented Loot Box monetization system. This means that your level of progression throughout the game can be strongly correlated with your rolling luck or IAP levels. Granted PAD has a major skill component, it can still be challenging to continue to move forward if you fail to roll the newer/Powercreeped cards. Continue reading REM Rates Revealed

Big Changes Coming to PAD in September


Puzzle and Dragons will have several big changes occurring during the month of September and this post will mostly be providing a brief overview of what is to come. The three major topics are Monthly Quest Dungeons, Time Attack Descends, and Trading.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Monthly Quests

Monthly quests can almost be viewed as time-limited achievements in that we have to complete various scenarios for specific rewards before the month is over. If you fail to collect your rewards on time you can lose them.

This has been something that I have wanted quite badly from Puzzle and Dragons as it will help provide some framework/guidance on what to do. Continue reading Big Changes Coming to PAD in September

How to Keep up with Powercreep


Puzzle and Dragons is a massive game that has unrivaled depth in the mobile game industry. In fact, it really does not feel like you are playing a mobile game and are instead playing a complex RPG that would not be playable without third party websites/databases as there are thousands of monsters and hundreds of different dungeons with diverse spawns and mechanics. This is partially why this website can exist as there is simply so much content to potentially write about.

As such, it can sometimes be overwhelming to stay “meta” or keep up with the rate of new content being released, especially if you are newer to the game and/or non-IAP.

However, these past few months have really felt like a period of catch-up due to the lack of new content actually being released from a gameplay perspective (outside of 3-Player Coop). We have been given an excessive number of stones, 5-coin cost coin dungeons, unlimited rank ups through Legendary Earth, and climaxing with one of the best Player’s Choice Godfests to date (full review can be found HERE).

This article will examine what exactly is Powercreep/meta, how to try and stay abreast or current with the changing landscape, as well as suggestions for fighting off boredom.

Do note that this was in my drafts for a month or two so forgive any dated content as 3P was not released then. I somehow forgot about this and ideally should have been published a few weeks ago.

Video commentary

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What is Powercreep

Powercreep can be best defined as progressively advancing rate of mechanics from both a monster collection and dungeon difficulty perspective. This is important for any longstanding game as it would quickly grow stale if content did not evolve over time as you would run out of things to actually play. Continue reading How to Keep up with Powercreep

Dealing with Duplicate Monsters


Player’s Choice Godfest is in full swing and with it comes a flurry of questions fixated around duplicate monsters. Some cards have tremendous value even after pulling 2-3 of them, but some may feel a bit out of place and pulling an excessive amount of the same card can be disheartening.

This article will focus on how to approach duplicate monsters and how to make the best decision for your Monster Box.

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Your first time acquiring a card

I do not care if it is a silver or a 6-star GFE you think is lackluster, you should NEVER sell/fuse away a card if it is the very first time you have acquired it. Continue reading Dealing with Duplicate Monsters