Tag Archives: Mantastic PAD

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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June Bride REM Review and Analysis

Introduction

The June Bride returns to North America and despite the pretty dresses and coming during the correct month, it is a lackluster event.

This is because it is a tremendously old Seasonal REM which means many of these cards are several years old. Furthermore, the bottom rarities seldom receive meaningful buffs and it is hard to keep up with years of Powercreep.

With this in mind, I would be hesitant in spending Stones in this event as you are incredibly likely to roll something disappointing from a value/usability point of view.

Regardless, this article will outline the pros and cons for each card within the June Bride event to give players a better understanding of what each monster can do.

Video commentary

—video coming Monday—

Overview

June Bride Pros & Cons – June 26, 2020
Pros
Cons
  • Pretty outfits for your favourite cards
  • Comes in June
  • One of the worst machines overall
  • Little value throughout
  • 4-6* are uninspiring and comprise 78.8% of the rolling pool
  • Only 9* have Weapon Assists
June Bride REM
9 Star base
(2% total)
8 Star base
(6% total)
 
7 Star base
(13.2% total)
W Satsilo 
6 Star base
(18% total)
W Ra W Bastet
5 Star base
(36.48% total)
W Akechi W Ruka W Kano F
4 Star base
(24.32% total)
W Sopdet W Iza
June Bride REM Rankings – June 26, 2020
S
A
B    W Satsilo W Ra
C W Bastet W Akechi
D W Ruka W Kano F W Sopdet W Iza

Order within each tier is random and not reflective of ranking

Icons show Base form

Regardless of card’s ranking, you should always keep it if it is your very first time acquiring them

Bottom rarity quick summary

The bottom rarity should be the main motivation to roll in an event and here is a brief summary showcasing their awakenings and/or Weapon Assists if applicable. Awakenings in (brackets) are Super Awakenings.

These comprise almost 25% of your rolls

  • W Sopdet TPA Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist +light orb +light orb Light reduction Light reduction Light reduction – D
  • W Iza +light orb +light orb +light orb +light orb +light orb Dark Reduction Dark Reduction Dark Reduction Skill Boost – D

Continue reading June Bride REM Review and Analysis

P&D Pass comes to North America

Introduction

The P&D Pass will be making a debut in North America after the most recent maintenance and offers players a subscription-based service in order to acquire additional Magic Stones, rolls, and other in-game items.

As a whole, this is an efficient ratio of real life money to in game currency and if you are someone who is already comfortable IAPing (in-app purchasing), this will be a blessing overall.

With that being said, P&D Pass will still cost real life money ($9 USD / $12 CAD) which in turn can be off putting for many players. Thankfully, Puzzle and Dragons is a non-competitive, primarily PvE (player versus environment) game which means this has no actual impact on your own experience should you choose to forgo this service.

On the other hand, there is a 7 day free trial along with a special first time bonus to any one who subscribes (paid or trial) within the next 3 weeks. This special bonus is a Spring Forward Medal which can be redeemed for either Jiraiya , Yuri , or Grandis .

As a disclaimer, I do not work for GungHo and have never received any form of momentary, in-game currency, or support beyond a couple of Retweet/Facebook shares in the past. As such, all opinions are my own.

Official GHNA links:

Video commentary



Entertainment money

Money is always a sensitive topic, especially when spent on entertainment as it can be considered “wasteful.” By wasteful I mean it does not contribute to advancing your overall status in life (eg. paying down rent/mortgage, food, etc.). Continue reading P&D Pass comes to North America

Shaman King Collab REM Review and Analysis – June 2020

Introduction

The Shaman King Collab returns to North America and is one of the stronger events due to every single card having a Weapon Assist . This helps offset the pain of rolling a duplicate along with giving all cards a potential use, especially the bottom rarity.

Furthermore, the bottom rarity’s Weapon Assists feature numerous Killers along with Passive Damage solutions and if you have never rolled in this event before, it is worth at least several pulls.

This is because these Weapon Assists will help round out your Monster Box as they may be difficult to replicate along with the fact that many of these cards are valuable. As such, you have a reasonably strong chance of pulling something that will help your develop your account and does make this event worthwhile for those who have never pulled or hardly pulled at all.

Regardless, this article will outline the pros and cons for each card within the Shaman King Collab event to give players a better understanding of what each monster can do.

Video commentary

—video coming Monday—

Overview

Shaman King Collab Pros & Cons – June 18, 2020
Pros
Cons
  • Weapon Assists for all cards
    • Helps offset pain of dupes
    • Gives bottom rarity more value
  • Worth a few rolls if never done so before
  • Few game breaking cards
    • There is value, but not absurdly strong new things
Shaman King Collab REM
6 Star base
(17.5% total)
5 Star base
(82.5% total)
Shaman King Collab REM Rankings – June 18, 2020
S
A
B  
C
D

Order within each tier is random and not reflective of ranking

Regardless of card’s ranking, you should always keep it if it is your very first time acquiring them
Bottom rarity quick summary

The bottom rarity should be the main motivation to roll in an event and here is a brief summary showcasing their awakenings and/or Weapon Assists if applicable. Awakenings in (brackets) are Super Awakenings.

  • Skill Boost Time Extend Time Extend God Killer Devil killer TPA TPA TPA (Balance killer Healer Killer ) – B
    Dark row Dark row Dark row Dark Orb Enhance Dark Orb Enhance Imp ATK
  • Bind Immune Bind Immune Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist ( ) – B
    Skill Lock Resist Imp ATK
  • blue + orb blue + orb blue + orb blue + orb physical killer Machine Killer Devil killer (  ) – A
    Balance killer blue + orb blue + orb blue + orb blue + orb RCV Latent
  • Bind Immune Bind Immune Time Extend Time Extend  Skill Lock Resist Skill Boost ( 45 ) – B
    physical killer RCV Latent
  • Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist 45 Multiplayer Bonus Balance killer Balance killer Healer Killer (Healer Killer  ) – B
    37 Time Extend Skill Lock Resist Imp ATK
  • Skill Boost Time Extend Skill Lock Resist Bind Immune Bind Immune ( 45 Devil killer) – C
    +light orb +light orb Bind Clear awakening Imp ATK
  • Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist (Skill Boost ) – B
    Time Extend Imp ATK
  • Bind Immune Bind Immune Skill Lock Resist Skill Boost TPA TPA Time Extend 45 ( 45 ) – B
    Dark Orb Enhance Dark Orb Enhance Dark Orb Enhance Dark Orb Enhance Imp ATK

Continue reading Shaman King Collab REM Review and Analysis – June 2020

GH Tsukuyomi x Norza vs Alt. Arena 4 & Dungeon Breakdown/Strategies

Introduction

With the release of both GH Tsukuyomi and Norza , North American players have the opportunity to utilize a truly spectacular team that is able to tackle any dungeon in the game. With this in mind, I have developed a team for my own Monster Box to farm Alt. Arena 4 while using a Yuri as a sub as I was unable to roll my own Norza.

Furthermore, I Monster Exchanged for Tsukuyomi as I am able to build a viable team for end game content. As with any trade, this should not be done on a whim and only completed if you can actually support it.

Taking these points into consideration, I want to share my thought process behind building my own team and how I approach Alt. Arena 4. This article will include a full breakdown of each of my card’s inherits, latents, and rationale for them being chosen along with a detailed description of the hurdles in Alt. Arena 4.

Video commentary


Solo AA4 clear


Notable Alt. Arena 4 mechanics

Alt. Arena 4 is currently the hardest dungeon available in North America and will push many teams to their limits. As such, it is important to understand the key mechanics that must be addressed.

Continue reading GH Tsukuyomi x Norza vs Alt. Arena 4 & Dungeon Breakdown/Strategies

New 7* GFE: Norza & Aljae Review + Super Godfest Debut

Introduction

The current Super Godfest that has gone live today features the standard 33% GFE rolling rates along with the release of two new 7-star Godfest Exclusives: Norza and Aljae .

Both of these cards are tremendously powerful as they Transform and are new. This may sound a little silly but new cards tend to be stronger compared to older ones and they are often at their peak power upon release.

This is due to how future buffs have the chance to be underwhelming and in order to generate hype/excitement, a newly released card has to be strong.

With this in mind, I wish to take a look at both of these cards in more detail to determine why they are so powerful and to give players a better understanding of they can expect if they do roll in this Super Godfest.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Rolling 14x


New Godfest Exclusives

Norza

Continue reading New 7* GFE: Norza & Aljae Review + Super Godfest Debut

New Evolutions Overview – Lu Bu, Nephthys, & More

Introduction

GungHo continues the wonderful trend of providing new evolutions for existing cards. This is important as it can help recycle a card back into relevancy as the landscape of PAD can change so quickly as new cards are continuously released.

In fact, having thousands of different cards is problematic as it makes it incredibly difficult to be chosen as a leader/sub/inherit as there are just so many options and many simply take up Box space.

Regardless, this article will take a look at all of the new evolutions that were released late last night.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

New cards

Lu Bu

Pros
Cons
  • High personal damage when below 50% HP
  • Huge ATK multiplier from LS
    • Amazing farming potential
  • Active provides Burst + HP cut
  • Active does not generate Dark orbs
  • Modestly long cooldown

Reincarnated Lu Bu becomes a terrifyingly powerful farming leader due to his outstanding 24x ATK with a single leader (576x with two) for all Attackers and Devils when below 50% HP. Furthermore, he can also abuse Rows Dark row to improve the team’s damage output. Continue reading New Evolutions Overview – Lu Bu, Nephthys, & More

GungHo Collab REM Review and Analysis – June 2020

Introduction

The GungHo Collab makes a return to North America and features 6 new cards to an already massive rolling pool. As a result, many cards will undergo a “rotation” in which several will be absent from any given GungHo Collab event.

This is probably to help alleviate the stress of having so many different characters and it is important to check the roster before rolling to ensure your key chase cards are present.

With that being said, this is a separate 6-stone that features a lacking bottom rarity which will comprise over 50% of the rolls which is saddening to say the least. As a result, it makes it much harder to justify rolling as duplicates are probably unwanted for the bottom rarity cards along with only one having modest value.

Regardless, this article will outline the pros and cons for each card within the GungHo Collab Egg Machine event to give players a better understanding of what each monster can do.

Video commentary

—video coming Monday—

Overview

GungHo Collab REM Pros & Cons – June 5, 2020
Pros
Cons
  • 20.7% chance for 7-star card
    • Higher compared to most Seasonal/Event REMs
  • Collab will return on a regular basis
    • Cards should periodically receive buffs
    • No urgency to roll right now if nothing is appealing
  • 51.3% for 5-star card
    • Only 1 is reasonable
    • Duplicates are unwanted
  • Middling value for most 6-star cards
  • Some powerful 7-star cards are absent
GungHo Collab REM
7 Star base
(20.7% total)
  
 
6 Star base
(28% total)
5 Star base
(51.3% total)
GungHo Collab REM Rankings – June 5, 2020
S
A
B
C
D

Order within each tier is random and not reflective of ranking

Regardless of card’s ranking, you should always keep it if it is your very first time acquiring them
Bottom rarity quick summary

The bottom rarity should be the main motivation to roll in an event and here is a brief summary showcasing their awakenings and/or Weapon Assists if applicable. Awakenings in (brackets) are Super Awakenings.

  • Skill Boost Skill Boost Time Extend Wood resist Wood resist Wood resist Wood resist (  ) – D
  • Bind Immune Bind Immune Bind Clear awakening Bind Clear awakening Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist (  45) – D
  • Time Extend Skill Lock Resist Skill Lock Resist Blind Resist 45 45 Time Extend ( ) – D
  • Skill Lock Resist Skill Lock Resist Skill Boost Time Extend 45 Balance killer(Balance killer ) – B
    Water Row Water Row Water Row blue + orb blue + orb Imp HP
  • Skill Boost TPA TPA TPA Multiplayer Bonus Multiplayer Bonus Skill Boost ( ) – C
    Time Extend Multiplayer Bonus Imp HP
  • Skill Boost Skill Boost Skill Lock Resist Time Extend Healer Killer Healer Killer Machine Killer (  ) – C
    Jammer Resist Jammer Resist Jammer Resist Imp HP

Continue reading GungHo Collab REM Review and Analysis – June 2020

Latent Tamadra Guide – June 2020

Introduction

Latent Tamadras have been available for a prolong period of time now and is a way to add a certain level of customization to an individual card. By default, all cards come with 6 available slots and Reincarnated monsters can be bumped up to 8.

With that being said, there are now numerous different Latents available and it can become overwhelming when deciding how to best use them at this point in time.

As such, this article will examine the 6 distinct categories Latents can fall into: Skill Delay Resists, new AA4 latents, Killers, stat modifiers, Damage Reduction, and Extra Slot Tamadras to give players a better understanding of how to best use this resource in this day and age.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Skill Delay Resists Skill delay resist – 1 slot

Skill Delay Resists (SDR) will always make for a solid default choice when unsure of what to put on a monster. This is because each SDR will prevent a single turn of skill delay which helps ensure your actives remain intact when pushing through challenging content.

As such, it is not uncommon to stack these on most cards for your team as having access to your base or inherited active is is always helpful. It is also rare that you would never want to use either of these actives and is the reason why SDRs are the best choice if unsure.

With that being said, you should not just throw them on to cards willy-nilly as there are many other powerful options available but cards who tend to make the most out of these Latents are those who lack personal damage along with those carrying a key active such as Damage Absorption Void or something that counters Poison Skyfalls. Continue reading Latent Tamadra Guide – June 2020

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