Tag Archives: Fagan Rai

[Meta Snapshots] Transformation Leaders

Introduction

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

–video coming soon–

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.

Conclusion

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!

Mantastic Icon Mantastic Social Media Mantastic Icon
FB icon Facebook twitter Twitter YT YouTube
Twitch Twitch discord Discord download Patreon

If you enjoy my content, please consider turning off AdBlocker for this website. If you wish to directly support me, please click the beautiful image below.

Choosing your new GFE: Fagan Rai or Zaerog Core

The Exchange Medal will be in your mail on December 1, 2019

Introduction

The most recent North American PAD Stream was jam-packed with exciting content and I have to applaud their efforts as they are doing a fantastic job in bringing us both new content and regular streams.

GHNA streams used to be sporadic affairs but we are now enjoying them on a much more regular basis. This generates excitement and helps foster a stronger sense of community. Furthermore, we will start receiving 5 Magic Stones each day of December and January for a grand total of 310 Magic Stones. This is quite spectacular to say the least and we are given yet another gift of a special Medal to redeem one of the two new Godfest Exclusives (GFE).

The two new GFE, Fagan Rai and Zaerog Core , both come with truly impressive kits and powerful Weapon Assists . As such, it will become a challenging decision for which one to pursue but thankfully, there is no time limit for exchanging your special Medal and dupes are actually fine as their Weapon Assists have value.

This article will outline the strengths and weaknesses of each card to help players make a more informed decision based on their individual Monster Box and goals.

Video commentary

—video coming soon—

New GFE

Fagan Rai

Active: Transform the card into Evolved Form (22 turn CD)

Leader Skill: 5x ATK when 5 or more combos [1/25/1]

Awakenings: Fire resist Water Red Wood resist
Super Awakenings: –
Typing: Dragon
Weighted Stats (Limit Break): 486 (-)
HP 1853 (-) / ATK 1312 (-) / RCV 116 (-)
Weapon Assist:  Skill Boost Imp ATK

Fagan Rai is the first new GFE players can exchange for and in his Base form, he looks abysmally pitiful. He has terrible Weighted Stats, a 2015 Leader Skill, and essentially no awakenings. As such, he looks terrible on paper and his only purpose will be finding a way to utilize his non-inheritable active.

Using Fagan Rai’s active will transform him into his outstanding Evolved form and this can only be achieved in a dungeon; he cannot be evolved any other way.

This places a challenge for players as his cooldown is 22 turns and will be difficult to achieve in solo mode and is further compounded by the need to use him as a leader for the post-evolution leader skill.

While this is quite difficult to achieve in solo mode, 2P coop allows for the sharing of Skill Boosts Skill Boost which makes it significantly easier to achieve. Generally speaking, you wish to transform right away as you are quite helpless otherwise.

Either way, it is best to look at his Evolved form to fully understand his true capabilities.

Fagan Rai Transformed

Active: For 2 turns, bypass void damage shield effect (10 turn CD)

Leader Skill: 20x ATK and 2x HP & RCV for Dragon type; 50000 additional damage when matching 5 or more colors [4/400/4]

Awakenings: Bind Immune Bind Immune Skill Lock Resist 45 45 45 45
Super Awakenings: –
Typing: Dragon
Weighted Stats (Limit Break): 1399 (-)
HP 7899 (-) / ATK 3119 (-) / RCV 437 (-)
Weapon Assist: Skill Boost Imp ATK

Pros
Cons
  • Four 7 Combo 45 awakenings
    • 16x personal damage
  • Voids Damage Void for 2 turns
    • No longer need VDP
    • 10 turn CD
  • Built in Follow Up Damage when matching 5 colours
    • Counters Resolve
  • 4/400/4 LS
  • Must Transform to function
    • Difficult to achieve in solo
  • Restricted to only Dragons
  • Relies on 5 colours for Follow Up Damage
  • Can only use Machine or Healer Killer awakenings
  • Little sub use
  • Cannot be Limit Broken
    • No Super Awakenings

Fagan Rai Transformed is essentially the pinnacle of PAD  and feels rewarding after having to suffer/compromise your team composition to achieve.

Once transformed, Fagan Rai becomes an unconditional 4/400/4 leader for Dragon types while having built in Follow Up Damage when matching all 5 colours. This solves the need for FUA but it may still be useful to have one present as not every board will have all 5 colours. Furthermore, he comes with four 7 Combo 45 awakenings which translates into 16x personal damage against any spawn.

In addition to this, Fagan Rai’s active becomes a Void Damage Void for 2 turns which means VDP will not be required and is available on a fast 10-turn cooldown. With that being said, due to no secondary animation, it can only be used against a Void spawn and cannot be “dumped” early on to prevent an inherit from charging up.

Putting all of this together results in a truly impressive card and the main issue will be team building around his Transformation and Dragon requirement.

With this in mind, I like to turn to Ilmina.com‘s Fuzzy Search to find cards that fulfill specific requirements, in this case, Dragons with 4 or more Skill Boost Skill Boost. This website has all the current information for North America but may not always have the recently buffed JP cards such as Rikuu and Dolq who will both have 5 Skill Boosts in the near future.

Rikuu is especially exciting as he will also provide 20% Resistance against Jammer Jammer Resist, Poison Poison resist, and Blind Blind Resist while also having a full Rainbow board (for Follow Up Damage) and can quickly charge up due to Skill Charge .

Assuming Skill Boosts can be met, your goal will be to have all 5 colours represented to trigger his Follow Up Damage and one interesting choice will be Roche . While Roche has 1 measly Skill Boost, she has by far more TPA TPA damage than any other card.

Generally speaking, TPA is an underwhelming awakening as it is harder to fully take advantage of due to Rows or VDP or Blob activation. With that being said, a single Wood combo on Fagan Rai teams will deal comically large amounts of damage. This can be further amplified with TPA assists, most notably the new Zaerog Core which provides 2.

In essence, Fagan Rai is a terrifyingly strong leader assuming his Transformation requirements can be met. With that being said, it will be nearly impossible for less developed boxes to achieve this in solo mode but if you are able to or play extensively in coop with yourself, Fagan Rai may be the best choice for you.

Weapon Assist: Skill Boost Imp ATK

Active: For 4 turns, increase combo count by 2 (20 turn CD)

Pros
Cons
  • Cloud Resist
  • Skill Boost Skill Boost
  • Two Team HP
  • 20 turn CD
    • Less likely to accidentally charge up
  • Strong in a variety of situations

Fagan Rai’s Weapon Assist is quite spectacular as it provides numerous different benefits. Firstly, Cloud Resist always valuable and at this point in time, we are looking for supplemental benefits for using any particular card.

As such, the single Skill Boost Skill Boost can be helpful in almost any content as it is “free” along with two Team HP . These will add meaningful bulk and is especially relevant on Tifa teams who often have lower amounts of Effective Health.

Finally, the lengthy 20 turn cooldown is favourable as it will help prevent accidental charging and the +2 combos for 4 turns is quite powerful. This is especially valuable for Skill Boost Weapons as players often do not want the inherit to charge up (worst offender is Amen ).

As such, Fagan’s Weapon Assist can fit on a wide variety of teams while providing additional value and will have the most impact on newer/less developed boxes. Remember, choosing Fagan for his Weapon is not a  bad thing as it can be reversed into his Base form. Furthermore, the benefits it provides now may help you advance your current level of progress.


Base Zaerog Core

Active: Reduce HP by 50%; For 1 turn, increase orb move time by 3 seconds (1 turn CD)

Leader Skill: 2x HP for Dragon type; 9x ATK when matching 2+ Dark combos; 2x ATK and reduce damage taken by 25% when below 80% HP [4/324/1/43.75%]

Awakenings: Bind Immune Bind Immune Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist 45 45
Super Awakenings: TPA
Typing: Dragon
Weighted Stats (Limit Break): 1100 (1265)
HP 4836 (5561) / ATK 2450 (2818) / RCV 378 (435)
Weapon Assist:  TPA TPA Imp ATK

Pros
Cons
  • Massive personal damage
    • 45 45
  • FUA
  • Can gain VDP via SA
  • 1 turn active
    • Easy to inherit over
    • Powerful -50% HP for <50%
    • Synergy with LS
  • LS gains damage reduction when below 80%
    • Can survive Gravity + Hit
  • Restricted to Dragons via LS
  • Requires 2 Dark combos
    • Modestly orb hungry
    • Issues with VDP
  • Can only use Machine or Healer Killer awakenings

Zaerog Core’s base form is a stunning card with massive amounts of personal damage due to double 7 Combo 45 and two <50% This translates into 16x personal damage when below half health against any spawn. This is invaluable as he also comes with a FUA and can gain a VDP via Super Awakenings to ensure his damage is not wasted.

This leads him to become a stellar sub on a wide variety of teams, especially those that rely on being below 50% HP. This is because Zaerog Core offers fantastic damage but his 1 turn active ensures you can always heal up and reset your HP as needed. While we do have access to the Samurai Showdown Cartridge , Zaerog Core is a far superior option due to the stats and awakenings and means he can be run even if not fully compatible.

Building upon this, the 1 turn cooldown can be abused to carry a specific inherit such as a Damage Absorb Void and then using as a personal burst for Zaerog Core.

This is an interesting application as he still deals impressive amounts of damage without being low health but his -50% HP active functions as his own personal 4x burst. As such, it does enable him to be used on a wider variety of teams, even those who do not rely on being low health.

Moving away from his sub potential, Zaerog Core is able to lead a powerful team assuming players have enough Dragons to populate it. This can be a drawback, especially for less developed boxes and while he does boast impressive amounts of Effective Health (mix of 4x HP and Damage Reduction when below 80% HP), his full activation requirement may present some issues.

Zaerog Core requires two sets of Dark combos to activate and while this is the same orb requirement as many popular leaders (eg. Ina ), it is not created equal. This is because VDP will require 9 + 3 = 12 Dark orbs which may be problematic and may force players to become more reliant on orb changers.

With that being said, Zaerog Core has several interesting ways to ease his leader skill requirements. Firstly, he essentially takes care of all the damage requirements for your team which means you can populate it with subs that support his prowess. As such, Nergigante due to the 3 Enhanced Dark Orbs Dark Orb Enhance, solid stats, and powerful active will often be a desirable sub. In fact, with 2 Nergigantes, it is almost a 100% up time on your 15% Skyfall buff while also providing a column of Dark and Hearts.

Further building upon that, another interesting strategy is to utilize a Leader Swap (eg. Matcha ) and a 7×6 board. This larger board helps offset the orb hungry nature of his Leader Skill and his own 1-turn cooldown means it can be activated much earlier. With this in mind, initially leading with someone like Uruka / provides a compatible Leader Skill assuming Wood and Fire can be covered. Furthermore, she comes with the Damage Absorb Void which is something you would want to bring any way.

Thus, a team with Uruka as a leader, two Nergigante (4-8 SB Skill Boost depending on SA), two Zaerog Cores (yours + leader and VDP SA) equals up to 12 Skill Boosts plus one more from a sub with Fire. As such, the Leader Swap will be available quite fast and Uruka will still provide a meaningful multiplier to ease the transition. A list of Dragon cards with Dark/Fire can be found HERE.

Evolved Zaerog Core

Active: For 1 turn, bypass damage absorb shield effects; Unlock all orbs; Change all orbs to Fire, Water, Wood, Light, and Dark orbs (23 turn CD)

Leader Skill: 1.5x HP for Dragon type; 4x ATK when 6 or more combos; 4x ATK and reduce damage taken by 35% when above 50% HP [2.25/256/1/57.75%]

Awakenings: Bind Immune Bind Immune  Skill Boost TPA TPA TPA
Super Awakenings: TPA
Typing: Dragon
Weighted Stats (Limit Break): 1203 (1383)
HP 3236 (3721) / ATK 4050 (4658) / RCV 208 (239)
Weapon Assist:  TPA TPA Imp ATK

Pros
Cons
  • Can have 5 SB Skill Boost for Fagan Rai
  • Fujin style active
    • Creates all 5 colours
    • Skill Charge
  • Can reverse evolution for little cost
  • LS requires being above 50%
  • Restricted to Dragons
  • Base form has more universal applications

Evolved Zaerog Core dramatically changes his kit in a less ideal way due to the fact that his Base form is universally stronger. With that being said, he still comes with several valuable aspects and may give players their very first Damage Absorb Void (Fujin style active).

Evolved Zaerog Core can generate all 5 colours alongside their Damage Absorb Void while also owning a Skill Charge awakening. This enables him to quickly charge it up and can be used as a potent sub. With that in mind, he is a Dragon with 5 Skill Boosts Skill Boost via Super Awakenings. This means he can be a potential Fagan Rai sub which is pretty cool as two Valeria and Evolved Zaerog Core provides 17/22 Skill Boosts needed to Transform.

On the other hand, Evolved Zaerog Core provides an upgraded Leader Skill to Edward due to the 2.25x HP and similar 50% HP requirement. This type of Leader Skill can clear plenty of content, but only having Damage Reduction when above 50% and all your damage being tied to being above half health presents some problems.

Firstly, large preemptives will tear through the Damage Reduction and leave you vulnerable after. Furthermore, players must be above 50% HP before they match orbs to deal meaningful damage. As such, you may get “stuck” in a loop of being unable to activate. Finally, this is purely restricted to Dragons which makes team building harder.

One final thing to consider is players can easily reverse Zaerog Core back to his Base form if they outgrow the Evolved form’s value.

Weapon Assist: TPA TPA Imp ATK

Active: For 1 turn, 6x ATK for Dragon type

Pros
Cons
  • Two TPA TPA
    • Highest damage from a Weapon
  • 6x Burst for Dragons
  • 20 turn cooldown
    • Prevents accidental charging
  • Blob/Row/VDP meta

Zaerog Core’s Weapon Assist is able to provide two TPA TPA to the owning card and is the largest source of non-Killer damage we can gain from a Weapon Assist. This is meaningful and is naturally best used on cards with already high ATK and multiple TPA as it will enable them to dish out even more damage. As such, cards such as SR Haku and Roche come to mind as they are already TPA-oriented.

With that being said, TPA is a more “restrictive” awakening due to the current blob meta. This is because most teams rely on matching numerous connected orbs of their primary colour which often leaves little left for additional combos.

Thus, the TPA owning card will often under perform as there simply won’t be enough orbs for them to function. As such, the usage of this Weapon will be dependent on how effective your teams can actually support this offensive awakening.

Brief selection guide

Taking the above information into consideration, I have concocted a brief summary guide for who to pick. These are general statements and the best answer lies within your own personal Monster Box and PAD goals. Use these as a starting point, not absolute truths.

Pick Fagan Rai

Players should pick Fagan Rai if they have a dedicated account to coop with themselves, most often an alternate account. This will greatly alleviate the Skill Boost Skill Boost burden for his 22 turn Transformation active which is his greatest weakness.

Conversely, if you are able to have him charge up in solo, he can be more easily chosen.

Furthermore, if you are yearning for his Weapon Assist and do not have other alternatives for Cloud or SB, this may be the way to go.

Do not pick Fagan Rai if

I would advise against selecting Fagan Rai if you do not have a dedicated coop partner, are unable to have him charge up in solo, and have no need for his Weapon Assist.

Pick Zaerog Core

Players should choose Zaerog Core if they are in need of a powerful Dark sub and those who enjoy the <50% playstyle. His offensive capabilities are only surpassed by Ranger Slayer and he can even function on teams who do not rely on being below half health.

Furthermore, he has a powerful leadership potential and if players have numerous Dark Dragons, he can help clear plenty of content.

On the other hand, his Evolved form can act as a player’s first Damage Absorb Void active which will open doors for clearing content. This evolution can easily be reverted to his Base form should this active no longer be required.

On a more luxurious note, his Weapon Assist is the only one that provides two TPA TPA which leads to spectacular personal damage for several key cards.

Do not pick Zaerog Core if

I feel Zaerog Core is the more reliable decision as he can fulfill significantly more roles compared to Fagan Rai. The main reason you would not pick Zaerog Core is most likely the fact that you have a way (either deep Monster Box or coop) to have Fagan Rai transform right away.

Who I plan to pick

For myself, despite owning a well developed alternate account, I seldom play with myself nowadays. Furthermore, I lack Valeria for solo Transformation and feel it would not benefit me enough.

As such, I plan to pick Zaerog Core on December 1st when the Medal becomes available as I lack the damage prowess of a Ranger Slayer. Furthermore I am drawn to the 1 turn cooldown while also being able to field a strong team for him.

Conclusion

Both Fagan Rai and Zaerog Core are exciting new GFEs who bring powerful kits and abilities that are much harder to replicate. Furthermore, all players will receive a special Medal on December 1st which will enable us to choose one for free.

This Medal has no expiration date and can be held on to if a firm decision cannot be found.

With that being said, let me know what you think about these cards in the comments below along with who you plan to exchange for.

Happy Puzzling!

Mantastic Icon Mantastic Social Media Mantastic Icon
FB icon Facebook twitter Twitter YT YouTube
Twitch Twitch discord Discord download Patreon

If you enjoy my content, please consider turning off AdBlocker for this website. If you wish to directly support me, please consider clicking the image below.