Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Farmable Sacred and Cursed Key Guide

Introduction

The Sin Dragon and Key Heroes event is one of the largest to date as it features a strong REM component along with many farmable cards that come in the form of Sacred and Cursed Keys.

These Keys function somewhat like the Monster Hunter Hunters in the sense that players have to play through the event dungeon to acquire evolution materials to evolve the Keys into various Weapon Assists .

As a whole, these Weapon Assists are worth pursuing as they are Farmable with many of them sharing the same active skill as their Sin Dragon counterpart. While these Weapon Assists will not always be as strong as their REM alternatives, they only cost time and stamina to acquire.

As such, this article will outline each of the 10 different Keys to help give players a better understanding of what to expect from each of them along with advice on which ones to prioritize.

If you are searching for the REM review, please check out my other post HERE.

Video commentary

—video coming Monday—

Sacred and Cursed Keys

All players will receive one Sacred Key when they log in and one Cursed Key for clearing the Sin Dragon Rush dungeon along with another copy of each from the second part of this event. Additional Keys can and should be purchased for 100,000 Monster Points. Continue reading Farmable Sacred and Cursed Key Guide

Question Time with Mantastic – October 2020

Introduction

The general gist of Question Time posts are for players to ask various PAD-related questions that do not have a simple/Google-able answer or related article on my website. I do play other games and have often found myself having specific/unique questions about it but have no where to go and can imagine this may hold true for some of my readers.

With that being said, there will be some restrictions on the types of questions I will be answering.

If planning on commenting on a regular basis, it is advantageous to create a WordPress account to both receive notifications as well as giving me a point of reference as to who I am responding to.

Do’s and Don’t

download For the most part, almost any question will be answered, even some non-invasive Off-Topic ones; however, it is best to ask questions that require explanation/why/my personal opinion. The following examples are Fantastic types of questions to ask:

  • Of these options, what is the best Yusuke team I can make for Arena 3?
  • What direction do you think GungHo will take with the 4x HP leads?
  • Can Heart Cross teams be revived and if so, how?

x The following types of questions will not be answered by me either because it has a simple Google-able answer or shows a lack of effort on the reader’s part:

  • Anything that Google/Padx can answer
  • A link to your entire Monster Box and saying “make me a team”

Conclusion

I hope my readers use this opportunity to ask questions that will hopefully improve their overall game play and progression.

Happy Puzzling!

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My Thought Process for Rolling or Monster Exchanging

Introduction

Puzzle and Dragons is my longest played game as I have now passed 2,500 days which technically makes it my longest lasting relationship to date. Regardless, I wish to take this opportunity to explain my thought process and rationale for rolling in any event or when Monster Exchanging.

To preface this, I want to stress that there is no “correct” way to play PAD as it is incredibly open-ended as there is no true story or lore and after a terribly brief tutorial, you are basically tossed into the wilds and expected to play. Due to this degree of freedom, there is a strong possibility that you may be playing PAD for different reasons compared to myself along with varying goals and expectations. This is perfectly fine and as long as you are enjoying yourself and not compromising other aspects of your life, you are playing this game “right.”

Regardless, I wish to share my own approach to maximizing my PAD resources which in turn brings me the most excitement from this tremendously old game.

Why I play Puzzle and Dragons

I originally started playing PAD after reading a newspaper article describing this new hit app in Japan while riding the bus. The article piqued my curiosity and later that night I downloaded Puzzle and Dragons on my iPad mini as my phone was not smart enough to run it and is why I prefer playing on a larger screen as that was what I got used to originally. Continue reading My Thought Process for Rolling or Monster Exchanging

New Monster Upgrades – July 16, 2020

Introduction

One of the nicest things about Puzzle and Dragons is the fact that older cards are often buffed after their release. This helps keep older cards relevant for longer periods of time and while none of these are new evolutions, the buffs can sometimes be meaningful.

As such, this article will take a look at all of the buffs received during this latest update.

Video commentary


Upgrades

3371 Baldin

Continue reading New Monster Upgrades – July 16, 2020

State of the Game – July 2020

Introduction

I have been playing Puzzle and Dragons for nearly 2,500 days and in this time, I have seen countless meta shifts along with new mechanics being introduced in various dungeons. As a result, PAD has evolved into a truly unique game with an absurd amount of content available, especially for newer players.

In fact, these past few months have been some of the best for PAD in recent history and it is not a far stretch to say we are entering a second “Golden Age” due to the plethora of new content for all ranges of players along with the most generous in-game currency being given out.

While this promising, there are still a few things are problematic about Puzzle and Dragons in regards to too many different monsters available, few/no meaningful way for players improve existing cards, and newer dungeons becoming more of a Box/Active skill check due to numerous mechanics.

With all of this in mind, I would like to examine the current state of the game through this article by highlighting what works and areas that need improvement.

Video commentary


First Golden Age

I use the term Gold Age to describe a period of time in which PAD was at doing incredibly well due to the volume of content available along with meaningful ways to spend stamina. With this in mind, I strongly believe the first Golden Age of PAD occurred during the time from Arena 1 to the beginning of Colosseum 1 in which we were given increasingly difficult dungeons that were both challenging and meaningful to grind. This began around early 2016 and persisted til around early 2017.

At that point in time, Pys were a relative novelty, Latent Tamadras being incredibly rare, and Orpharion being a valuable trophy/sub. As such, it was worth grinding/farming these dungeons and their difficulty level was well balanced along with gaining access to the Farmbale Myr who probably ended up much stronger than GungHo expected. This in turn gave all players a chance to actually attempt end game content as you could farm a top tier leader who also had relatively gentle team building requirements.

Furthermore, GungHo also struck a wonderful balance between juggling the number of mechanics, the counters they required, and balancing how important puzzling/orb matching was. In fact, I feel there was a much heavier emphasis on matching skills and even damage control compared to today.

I also feel that this may have also been the time in which PAD may have been at the height of their player base if looking at the number of views from my various mediums and it does not surprise me as it was a truly wonderful time to play.

Present day & second Golden Age

After that first Golden Age, I feel GungHo got too comfortable with their own success and it took them a bit under a year to release a new end game dungeon. This is far cry compared to before and just looking at the Crown difference on my account between my first Colosseum 1 and Alt. Arena 1 attempt, it has barely changed as there was also an incredibly long period of no Ranking Dungeons either.

Either way, PAD lost a great deal of it’s momentum and possibly also their player base. This relative lull in content continued for a modest period of time but things started to pick up again in late 2019 and has greatly accelerated in 2020.

During the past 6 months or so, we have been blessed with an absurd amount of Magic Stones, new end game dungeons, numerous Ranking Dungeons, along with events that have meaningful places to grind/spent stamina.

The key with this is having meaningful places to spend stamina. Just this past month alone, there has been something to play every week such as Qilin Dragon invades, GH Py/Ticket farming, Ranking Dungeons, TA1/2 boosted EXP, 3P having Super Awakenings, and Dark Ilmina along with the relatively new AA4.

For myself, I know I should be playing more AA4 as it is the only place to acquire the Super Latents, but I am happily distracted by all the other things going on. As such, there is this background feeling of always wanting more time/stamina which is somewhat reminiscent of older PAD days. Furthermore, the various content we have been given can be played by a wide variety of players instead of only being relevant to a small demographic.

This is perhaps one of the harder aspects to strike a happy balance: content for all range of players that is also diverse. Not everyone enjoys Ranking Dungeons or farming AA2 for Qilin Dragon, but these are exciting for many players and help give a meaningful place to spend stamina instead of always playing the same dungeons over and over again.

Things to improve PAD

Nothing is perfect and while there have been numerous Quality of Life improvements made to Puzzle and Dragons over the years, there are still several glaring issues all around.

Too many cards

The first and possible root to many of my subsequent points is that there are far too many cards in existence. It is probably a selling point to have thousands of different cards but the sad reality is that only a small number are truly valuable when trying to build the most efficient teams possible or when pushing through new and challenging content.

This giant rolling pool with only a few being truly valuable can be frustrating and this is further exasperated by GungHo continuously releasing new cards which in turn raise the rate of Powercreep along with potentially shifting currently useful cards into more obscurity as an upgrade was released.

In fact, newly released cards have to be stronger in theory as there would be no motivation to try and pursue them as a whole. This in turn keeps the meta more “fresh” but at the same time slowly invalidates older cards as more efficient options now exist.

As such, many leaders are cycled out as it is the easiest place to upgrade a card as GungHo only has to increase the multipliers to make a new card better. With this in mind, it is important to try and acquire a new and powerful leader as soon as they come out in order to maximize their time spent on top.

No meaningful way to improve existing cards

When PAD first came out, you were considered a cool cat if you had a +297 leader and even more revered if they were max skilled for certain cards. Over time we acquired the original Latents which gave another small layer of customization but eventually, both of these aspects became easier to acquire.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I no longer have to mindlessly grind Ocean of Heaven for maybe 2 Pluses but we have also lost truly meaningful ways to improve our cards.

While the AA4 Latents are powerful and rare, the PAD Pass somewhat killed their exclusivity and motivation to grind for them as all players who signed up for the PAD Pass can acquire 1 for free. But even then, each card can only accept one of these Super Latents.

While we can use spicier Weapon Assists as inherits, there is still a low degree of customization available and you cannot truly make your favourite card stronger no matter how much you want to.

I feel this is a frustrating aspect but also plays along with the concept of constantly releasing new cards. I feel you are almost supposed to roll a new card, be able to instantly max them out (level, pluses, awakenings), use them for a small period of time and then start the process again with the next new card.

This cycle of acquiring a new card, instantly maxing them, and then moving on a brief period of time later has become common practice for the most part and is probably why we do not need to heavily invest in cards as they will be pushed aside a few months down the road.

This feels less meaningful to me and even if a card has managed to stay relevant for a prolong period of time, there is no way for us to further improve them to continue using them.

Looking at other games, one thing I enjoyed about Fire Emblem Heroes (I play casually) is that you can merge your favourite units up to +10 which is a meaningful way to upgrade a character which also means older cards can be relevant as they can gain sizable stat upgrade through these merges. This also means players often use the same character for a longer period of time and the satisfaction of seeing them “grow up” feels pretty great.

Perhaps this is somewhat reminiscent of my early days of PAD when I used Sakuya for a year and a half in which it probably took over a month of grinding to give her +297 and even longer to max skill. Point of the matter is I was able to use a card long term and slowly build up their value as it was impossible to just instantly max out cards.

Dungeons are becoming too mechanic heavy

PAD was originally just Normal-style dungeons in that everything only had a health pool, DEF value, and a single attack. These spawns also had much higher value of health compared to our offensive capabilities and being able to one shot floors was rare unless you used actives.

Fast forward to today and all new dungeons feature numerous different mechanics for each floor along with almost all of them being able to one shot with minimal effort. This has created a pseudo mindset of always having to one shot floors but to compensate, most spawns now have several dangerous mechanics.

Furthermore, these mechanics are often only counterable by using specific active skills and if you are playing through the newer Arenas, you will need a whole host of different counters which can be sometimes impossible to fully address or even do given your Monster Box.

Copy/pasting from my AA4 article are the following notable mechanics:

  • 100% SBR Skill Lock Resist on Floor 1 (pre-Transform)
    • Get Bound, you die
  • Damage Absorb Void (Fujin -style)
  • Numerous Awoken Binds
  • Numerous Time debuffs
    • Some are 75% reductions
  • 100% Blind Resist Blind Resist
  • ATK debuffs
  • Unable to Match Orb Effect counter
    • You may die to Enoch on Floor 3 & will die vs Odin Dragon
  • 98,138 damage preemptive on floor 15
    • If you encounter Myne on floor 14, you MUST have over 98,138 HP before awakenings or use a 2 turn shield on floor 14
  • Cloud Resist & Tape Resist
  • VDP (or Void Damage Void active)
  • FUA (maybe ) or Auto Follow Up Damage
    • Auto Follow Up is preferred
  • Guard Break or large Auto Follow Up (300k+)
    • 2 Billion DEF Aten (f4) & Tamadras (f12) who also have 99% Damage Reduction
      • Large Poisons can work but takes up an active slot
  • Ideally Leader Swap Resist Latent
    • Prevents likely death from Mitsuanri
  • Poison Surge Latent
    • Prevents all Poison Skyfalls
      • Stops death combo of Freyja (floor 6) into Acala
      • Shuts down Neptune Dragon (floor 19)
  • 100% Poison Resist Poison resist
    • Slightly offset by Norza’s huge RCV multiplier

From this above list, the five coloured Blue bullets are mechanics you must counter with an active or you will never finish the dungeon (the red point may not always apply to every team). This means you must bring these 5 counters across your team of potentially 12 actives and have them all ready at the correct time.

5/12 does not sound too intimidating but many of these you will need on a regular basis along with probably requiring orb changers or any other utility required to run your team. To make things worse you have to consider the required awakenings needed to function along with the correct Resists.

Show next enemy attack

This is perhaps the biggest and most absurd aspect of PAD is that we still have no way of knowing what ability the enemy monster will perform along with how much health they currently have.

Puzzle and Dragons is advertised as a Puzzle game but we are still left guessing what will happen in dungeon and means we have to rely on third party apps/websites in order to actually play the game.

I still find this baffling that the only information we are given is how many turns the enemy will take before they attack (which is usually just 1) along with no indication of how much health they have left beyond a health bar.

In an ideal world, we would have meaningful dungeon information in game but a small starting point would be to just show us what the next ability is in the dungeon at this current HP threshold. Just knowing that you will not die in the upcoming turn (assuming the spawn’s health does not change) would make PAD so much more enjoyable as you could actually plan out if you need to stall, kill, or use actives.

Conclusion

Puzzle and Dragons is one of the longest standing games on the market and is my longest played title as I am nearing 2,500 days. In fact, PAD has become an integral part of my life and at this point in time, I do truly believe we are entering/entered a second Golden Age.

This is because we have been given numerous and meaningful ways to spend stamina, the most free goodies ever given out (Stones + free rolls), along with content that appeals to a wide range of players.

Of course, no game is perfect but the fact that PAD is still releasing content is a sign of a healthy game overall.

Let me know what you think about the direction PAD has taken along with how long you have been playing in the comments below.

Happy Puzzling!

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Farm GungHo Collab Dungeon for Easy Pys

Introduction

The GungHo Collab is in full swing and while the REM portion has modest value, the event dungeon is incredibly lucrative. This is because players are able to acquire GH Tickets which in turn can be Monster Exchanged for Pys at an incredible 1:1 ratio of Gold Ticket to Py.

Furthermore, the conversion ratios for Bronze -> Silver and Silver -> Gold only requires 3 instead of other event’s 5.

As such, this is an amazing time to farm for any colour Py as you can easily Swipe/Button through the dungeon as the dungeon features few mechanics.

With this in mind, I have created a Swipe build for my two account in order to coop with myself.

Video clear


Team used

GungHo Collab Farming – Shivnia x Scheat

1
Inherit
(5557)

(4712)

(4286)

(4286)

(4811)
Card
(5983)

(3508)

(5637)

(5203)

(5325)

2
Card
(4902)

(4286)

(2940)

(3508)

(4649)
Inherit Skill Boost
(4286)

(4877)

(5557)

I decided Continue reading Farm GungHo Collab Dungeon for Easy Pys

Farming Training Arena 2 with Double Shivnia

Introduction

Training Arena 2 has been available within the Normal Dungeon tab for some time now and is an efficient medium to quickly level up your monsters. This is because it is only 11 floors long, has no mechanics (only huge HP/DEF), drops a random Latent, along with providing 12 million Monster Experience evenly split between all non-max level cards.

This is a hefty amount of Monster Experience and while there are countless teams that can clear the dungeon, being able to do so in a fast and brainless manner can be meaningful.

With this in mind, I would like to share the current build I am using which was created by my friend Miso and slightly adjusted to my own Monster Box.

Video clear


Team used

Continue reading Farming Training Arena 2 with Double Shivnia

Grigory x Grigory Versus Alt. Arena 3

Introduction

Alt. Arena 3 remains one of the best dungeons to farm on a regular basis due to the Rank EXP, Pys, Killers, and the satisfaction of clearing a challenging dungeon.

Despite being in the game for a modest period of time, AA3 can still be unforgiving to an unprepared player as failing to bring a key Resist or flubbing a kill board could result in an unfortunate ending.

With this in mind, I wish to share my double Grigory team as he tries to revive the TPA TPA meta through his massive multipliers, immunity to Poison damage, and Auto Follow Up Attack.

Despite having many things going in his favour, I found my Grigory team had several issues compared to other higher tier leaders and I believe the issue lies in the fact that I am running double Grigory.

This is because the two strongest mechanics for Leader Skills are 7×6 and Auto Follow Up Attack which will result in asymmetrical pairings. As such, my 6×5 Grigory team had issues with Combo shields along with some problems with damage due to a lack of offensive sub options.

With these points in mind, I wish to explore how I built my own team along with addressing the major hurdles that can be found in Alt. Arena 3.

Video clear


Notable Alt. Arena 3 mechanics

Alt. Arena 3 is currently one of the hardest dungeon available in North America and may push many teams to their limits. As such, it is important to understand the key mechanics that must be addressed.

Continue reading Grigory x Grigory Versus Alt. Arena 3

Have a MOMtastic Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day and gifts are hard but proclaiming your love on the internet is eternal.

I am truly fortunate that my mom has made the effort to find ways to bond with her favourite (and only) son through PAD. In fact, she has been religiously playing for over 2,300 days and talking about PAD gives us something connect over. It is not uncommon for more “serious” conversations to be broken up with questions about PAD on whether this card is good or should I roll? etc. She sometimes visits this website (to my delight) and in the case of the most recent REMDra tournament, just looked at the image for active skill usage and was able to hit 999,999 all on her own.

Amusingly, she was quite anti-video gaming when I was growing up and my play time on the family computer was regulated and would occasionally go up by 15 minutes if I accomplished various tasks or scored well on certain math/logic tests. As such, I was truly surprised she wanted to give PAD a try but I believe it was tied to the actual puzzling aspect as it is a more mentally demanding game. Naturally she has no interest in the pretty girls nor cosmetic aspect and prefers to see that sweet sweet Clear message at the end of a dungeon.

MOMtastic’s Rank 885 is all her own doing as I only touch her account for difficult content, Box tidying/organization, and the occasional Ranking dungeon. While I am aware that it is easier to grind for Rank, that is not something she pursues and her current Rank is a byproduct of long-term playing.

Over the years, her puzzling skills have improved but still dislikes the reactive nature of Ranking dungeons and prefers to play through dungeons at her own pace.

Regardless, being able to bond over PAD with my mother has been a truly fantastic experience and hope this continues for the foreseeable future.

Happy Puzzling and Happy Mother’s Day!

Which Starter Team to Pick for 3 Choices! Win a Team!

Introduction

Friday, May 1st marks the start of a special new event/dungeon that will award players with the pre-made team they selected. This choice can only be made once and once awarded the pre-made team, you should not sell the Starter Dragon as it will be used for another set of challenges that requires said Starter Dragon.

For the most part, you should be selecting the pre made team that features a Pantheon card you do not own but in the case of missing multiple cards, the decision becomes a bit more meaningful.

This article will briefly outline my thought process for selecting a team for this new event.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Selection is permanent

Your selection is irreversible once you clear any one dungeon so it is in your best interest to choose the team that can benefit you the most. Continue reading Which Starter Team to Pick for 3 Choices! Win a Team!