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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!

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Shaman King Review And Analysis – May 2019

Introduction

The Shaman King Collab will be making their debut in North America this coming Monday and is an exciting time for NA players. This is because there was a certain degree of uncertainty of whether or not we would actually experience this event as it is home to several unique and powerful cards.

One notable feature is that all monsters feature a Weapon Assist evolution which enables them to provide additional awakenings when used as an inherit. As such, all cards have some degree of value and is reminiscent of the Monster Hunter Collab. With that being said, all Weapon Assists have a different active which may change their value for each player. Carefully inspect before committing to this evolution. With that being said, the Shaman King differs in that all cards have significantly lower weighted stats but is offset by the 6-Magic Stone per roll price tag.

On the bright side, essentially every card is good/has some value and it makes it hard to justify not rolling.

Regardless, this article will outline the strengths and weaknesses of this event to give players an idea of what each card has to offer and whether or not it is worth their Magic Stones.

Video commentary

—Shaman King Hype?!—

Overview

Shaman King Collab Pros & Cons – May 23, 2019
Pros
Cons
  • All cards feature a Weapon Assist
  • Monster Exchange requires 6-star GFE
  • Value in essentially every card
  • Debut in NA
    • The first few rolls should not have dupes
  • Lower weighted stats
  • 5:1 Monster Exchange ratio
    • 6 Magic Stone cost
Shaman King Collab REM
 6 Star base
 5 Star base
Shaman King Collab REM Rankings – May 23, 2019
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.

Continue reading Shaman King Review And Analysis – May 2019

10-Stone Seasonal Godfest Review – December 2018

Introduction

Starting on Monday, December 3rd, North America will be enjoying a 10-stone Seasonal Godfest. This special Godfest will last for 1 week and be broken up into two parts with each part featuring a different line up.

Furthermore, all rolls will come out at 7-stars (evolved and Awoken if possible), +297, max Level, and max Awoken. This is akin to the previous Voice Godfest in that each roll will cost 10 Stones so it would not be a far stretch to assume that the rolling rates should be similar (around 33% chance for any GFE/Seasonal card).

If that is the case, this would be a wonderful event as these rates would be hard to beat; however, the actual roster this time around feels less potent simply because the Seasonal cards featured do not come from 10-Stone machines with several of the Seasonal cards having lower value. Of course, the inclusion of Beach Barbara & Julie  will be tempting for players who missed her the first time around.

North America has just received another 100 Magic Stones plus 52 from the special Anniversary Quests along with various log-in bonuses. As such, players are most likely saturated with Magic Stones and are hungry to spend them.

In terms of other high-value events on the near horizon, the Player’s Choice Godfest (PCGF) should be happening soon. Historically speaking, PCGF has been an underwhelming affair simply because the rates were abysmal for GFE. With that being said, the most recent PCGF occurred prior to disclosed rolling rates and GungHo has improved the chances for these types of events. Furthermore, it is quite likely that the NA PCGF will debut the new 7-star GFE who come with Orb Skins (cosmetic changes to orbs) and will probably mirror the rates of the JP debut Godfest.

Taking all of this into consideration, it is hard to say which event is better to roll in: Seasonal Godfest or PCGF and we will not know the rolling rates of either until they go live along with the PCGF roster.

As such, the decision of whether or not to roll comes down to your individual Monster Box needs but generally speaking, high value Godfests are used to acquire as many GFE as possible. From there, the GFE are used as trade fodder for seasonal/collab events such as the Full Metal Alchemist (Edward ) which overlaps with Seasonal Godfest.

One last point to consider is that there is nothing on the horizon in terms of high value event after PCGF as NA is 2-3 months behind JP and no other major event has been announced.

Video commentary

–video coming soon–

Featured cards

The Seasonal Godfest is split into two parts with a different set of cards being featured but no information on Highlights or rolling rates has been disclosed. Generally speaking, Highlighted cards have a higher chance of being rolled compared to non-Highlighted cards of the same rarity: GFE or Pantheon. Continue reading 10-Stone Seasonal Godfest Review – December 2018

Dragonbound & Dragon Caller Egg Machine Review and Analysis – December 2017

Introduction

The Dragonbound & Dragon Caller Egg Machine is one of the most highly anticipated events to come to NA/EU as it features brand new and powerful monsters who will shift up the end game meta.

There was a great deal of wonder and worry as to whether or not we would be receiving this REM but thankfully, this event somewhat mirrors the Heroine one. This is because both the Heroine and Dragonbound/Caller machines are part of a Collaboration or seasonal event as well as costing 10 Magic Stones per roll.

While 10 stones may seem steep compared to the norm of 5, the Dragonbound and Dragon Caller REM contains incredible cards overall at all rarity values and is worth rolling (heavily) in.

Video commentary

—video coming soon—

Cards at a glance

Dragonbound & Dragon Caller REM Rarities
7-Star Base
6-Star Base     
5-Star Base     

The evolved forms of Ney  will also be available during this event. Full Ney article can be found HERE.

Rankings are in no particular order within each tier

Dragonbound & Dragon Caller REM Rankings
S   
A     
B   
C  
D

Artwork Rankings by Pancaaake
S coming soon?
A  still moving
B so probably not
C  but her ideal roll is
D  

Perhaps the most important ranking table in this whole article. This is just for fun and should not be the reason you roll.

Powercreep and timing

Powercreep is the notion that newer cards/evolutions tend to outpace/replace older or existing options. This is an essential aspect of any longstanding game and the key to success is releasing it at a steady rate instead of leaps and bounds.

Thankfully, one unique and wonderful aspect of Puzzle and Dragons is that cards go through cyclic patterns of dominance and inadequacy. Thus, a strong card of the past has a decent chance of becoming relevant again in the future. Continue reading Dragonbound & Dragon Caller Egg Machine Review and Analysis – December 2017