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 becomes highly prized) which inevitably means players will need to roll more to get on this hype train.
–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 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.
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