Though she’s slower than DAthena, I find Meri to be one of the best and most consistent leads for a3. Her main weaknesses – lack of SBR and HP – can be solved by cooping. In this guide I’ll be going over both team building and how to handle problematic spawns in a3 coop.
For Meri, you want to focus on blue subs (obviously) with rows and/or OE (TPAs are pretty much useless). Generally, you want to get as much OE as possible, as you already have 12 rows already just from leads. At least 5 is a good number to aim for, as that guarantees all natural water orbs will be enhanced, but the more the better.
You have a 6.25x RCV multipler, but no HP multiplier, so you want to focus your stats towards HP. Fortunately, water is known for its abundance of high-HP cards.
Beyond that, subs can be very flexible. You do need to keep a few things in mind though:
Since your leads are bindable, you will definitely need a bind clear, though usually a bind clear awakening (as opposed to an active) is sufficient. There are a lot of options for this, though Andro and Blonia are the two best. Khepri, Another Justice, and Achtros are farmable options if you don’t have anything else.
In coop, you’ll generally have between 50 and 60k HP, so you will need shields to tank some of the bigger hits from radar dragons. You’ll probably want two shields, with one lasting at least 3 turns. Having at least one be a 75% shield is very helpful. (I’ll go over reasons why when I talk about the radar dragons)
The best options are non-awoken Susano (5 turn 50%) for his long shield, non-awoken Indra (3-turn 75%) for his strong shield, and Yo & King Siegfried (1 turn 50%) for his use as both a shield and an orbchange identical to Meri’s.
The only floor where delay helps a lot is Vishnu, and you can still do it without anyways. Pretty much any delay that doesn’t screw with your orbs is good, the longer the better. The best option is ROrochi for his 4-turn delay and huge HP inherit boost.
Meri does not need a damage buff, as her damage is good enough already.
She also does not need a damage absorb void, as she does very well at damage controlling all of the damage control spawns (as will be discussed below).
So for your remaining actives, just use orbchangers and boardchangers. Actives that make both water and hearts, like Andro, Gabe, Sumire, Urd, and Skuld, are some of the best. Double orbchanges are also great, especially ones that give a skyfall buff, like Scheat and AHermes.
Ideally, you want the attack of your team to be as balanced as possible against Sopdet, Parvati, Vishnu, and radar dragons to make damage control easier. If using killer latents to balance your team’s attack, Vishnu (god/attacker) and radar dragons excludng Gaiadra (god/dragon) are especially important.
A team with uniformly low attack is much better than a team with uneven but high attack.
Here are some example teams from people I’ve cooped with. These are not meant to be optimal teams, just teams that have worked.
This team uses godkiller latents on Meri and Isis and dragonkiller latents on andros to balance attack with Navi’s coop boost.
Arena 3 Spawns
You can one-shot most floors with just a simple row of 6 orbs plus combos. The only exceptions are:
- Green enemies, Grisar, Zaerog (just use 8- or 9-row to kill these)
- High defense floors (tans, killer latent, predras, piis)
- Damage control floors
- Radar dragons and Kali
When you don’t have the orbs to kill, Meri’s 6.25x RCV multiplier means that you can heal through pretty much anything with just 3 hearts and combos. You can even heal through mortal poison matches with relative ease, though you might need more hearts for more poisons. So unless something hits hard enough to one-shot you, or breaks hearts, you can pretty much stall indefinitely on it.
Floor 1 has two spawns, and each has a 20% chance of being a Kappa, giving you a 36% chance of getting at least one.
Why is this important? Well, on its first turn, a Kappa will give you a 99 turn 15% skyfall boost to water. This is especially useful due to Meri’s no skyfall clause, which amplifies the effect compared to leaders with skyfall. Leave the Kappa alive for a turn, and you’ll need much less stalling and actives throughout your run.
High Defense Floors
Tans and latent killers can be burst through with single row full activation and combos, or pinged down while healing each turn. Piis require a bit more, and might need double row full activation if you get a green one.
Predras generally need double row full activation to burst down, green ones will need a lot of enhanced or a lot of combos. Usually a double orbchange or tricolor with fixer will be good enough.
Damage Control Floors
Damage will vary for different teams; these are just general guidelines. They may be off by a couple combos for your specific team, so be sure to check.
Either row or blob and combos to break her resolve, then kill.
Bring below his 75% resolve with 3-, 4-, and 5-matches and combos (shouldn’t be too hard), then kill. Do NOT match 6 or more connected while he still has resolve.
One-shot with row (might need more depending on the team), then heal and 5c and ping to bring below resolve, then kill with row.
Don’t try to damage control to bring them between 40 and 50%; it’s really easy to go below 40, and if you do, they bind your leads first and then one-shot you.
This spawn can be really annoying due to its constant board screw.
Row and few combos or 6-match without row and many combos usually work well to bring below 50% without killing.
3-, 4-, and 5-matches and combos to kill. Do NOT match 6 or more connected.
Chip to between 30% and 50% with 3-, 4-, and 5-matches and combos. Do NOT match 6 or more connected while he still has resolve. Then bind clear or just wait out the bind, and kill.
6-match no row and a couple combos usually works well.
Row and a few combos usually works well.
Row or 8-match no row, plus a couple combos should bring him below resolve, then use the board he makes to kill.
I highly recommend using a damage calculator.
Hephdra is the easiest radar dragon for Meri. Since he preempts a 15-turn skill delay, you should have the side with less damage/less useful actives kill the floor before.
He has 50% resolve, 78M HP, and a 50% resistance to water that cancels out the type advantage. He hits you progressively harder each turn – starting at about 12k and adding about 12k each turn – until his seventh turn, when he starts hitting you for 420k each turn.
Fortunately, you can kill him relatively quickly with Meri. You can do a good chunk of his HP with 9-row and combos; for some teams, this can even bring him below 50 in one hit.
You can also just pop his resolve with double row full activation and let him heal back up to 50%. Then, dealing at least 2 damage will bring him to <50%, breaking his resolve and letting you kill him the next turn.
Noahdra can be annoying, as she has 31M HP with a 5M null, and a 1/3 chance of having a blue absorb each turn. Her normal attacks don’t do much: she refreshes her absorbs, binds a sub, does a random orbchange, and hits for 17k. But she has thresholds at 90, 70, 50, 30, and 10% HP where she uses a Judgement: 75% shield, a debuff, and a larger hit. The Judgements are always used in order except the final one, which triggers immediately at 10%.
Stall until you get a non-water absorb with no bound subs. Then hit as close as you can to the 5M null. Use a shield if you can’t tank her First Judgement (51k) A 9-row does around 5M damage per sub, but this obviously varies for different teams. 8-row with combos is another way. Ideally do this without any bound subs. Be careful about doing too well with damage control, as you don’t want to hit her below 10%.
After she uses First Judgement, the 75% shield effectively increases the damage cap to 20M, so you should be able to kill relatively easily.
Gaiadra is very tanky, as she is green and has 39M HP with a 7-turn 75% shield and 6M null. For her first six turns, Gaiadra makes 3 jammers, skips a turn, then hits for 68k, then repeats. She blinds on her seventh turn, and then basically kills you on the eighth. So you have 8 turns to kill: 7 with her 75% shield up and 1 without.
While her shield is up, her damage null is effectively 48M. You will not hit this easily, so feel free to basically go for maximum damage each turn (double row full activation with as many combos as possible).
Use shields to tank her two 68k hits. Since they’re spaced 3 turns apart, you need a shield that lasts at least 4 turns to cover both. Otherwise, you’ll need to use two shields or kill before her second hit. This is where Susano’s 5-turn shield comes in handy.
Without her shield, the cap is 12M, probably too low to double row. Hopefully you brought her down low enough during her shield to easily kill.
Zeusdra’s 78M HP with 20M null is a relatively easy one-shot with the right damage control. This usually involves either double row or single row containing a lot of orbs.
If you can’t one-shot, bring him into the 30-40% range, where he makes a poison/heart bicolor every turn. You can stall indefinitely there, and use a boardchange when you’re ready to kill.
Heradra has 39M HP with a 2M absorb. This basically means that, without a damage absorb void, you need at least four turns to kill her.
She preempts 34k damage, then alternates full heals and large hits. The first two hits are 86k and 108k, so they can usually be tanked with a 50% shield (you might need to check for the second one), but all hits after that need a 75% shield.
Damage control for Heradra is exactly the same as Vishnu: generally row and a couple combos.
Kali is relatively easy. You can usually one-shot with double row full activation, or bring into safe zone with 9-row and combos. 75% shields can also act as a failsafe here, letting you tank her execution hits if you’ve run out of actives and orbs.
Here are some damage calculators you can use to fine-tune your damage control:
- PadSpike (website)
- Puzzle Damage Calc (Japanese app): iOS Android
- Combo Master (android app) has a calculator
- Simple Spreadsheet
- In-depth Spreadsheet
- For the spreadsheets, just make a copy to edit yourself
Meri’s no skyfall clause and flexible damage multiplier, combined with her insane RCV and easy damage ouput, make her a strong contender to deal with all the damage control requirements of a3. Team building can be flexible, with all sorts