What? No special modifier? THIS MUST BE EASY! AND IT WILL BE IF YOU FOLLOW A FEW KEY NOTES!
Though, do keep in mind, this dungeon is still significantly harder than C8. You don’t really get to cheese this dungeon with a single active like the last one and Artemis into Ares is really annoying. Luckily, both are devil attacker so you do have hope in getting some killers for that.
F1 : Ilsix
And so he returns. Status shield and 30% resolve, the standard stuff we know him for. Is roughly the same as the A3 form in terms of damage, that is to say he hits just under 46k on an unlucky 15% chance. FUA is highly recommended here.
F2 : Hinomitsuha
The skill delay queen (not really, M.Athena is worse) and you’re definitely going to feel it going into this dungeon unless your cards are 3-5 SDR (difficult if you’re bringing triple killer). So she premptively hits with a skill delay and 20% poison skyfall. This can be absolutely brutal because you might have enough HP to tank a hit, match 3, skyfall a poison set and die (has happened to me, in this dungeon even). Recommendations for this floor: SDR and Fenrir (jammer skyfall overwrites the poisons).
F3 : Orb Dragons
Very annoying floor because 5 random spawns. The last thing you want to get out of a more difficult dungeon is random spawns like we see here. All of them follow a similar pattern after dealing with their premptive / first turns. Utility hit (skill delay / board change / other), heart break, 90% grav, enrage or shield. This means that you do not need to heal after the heart break.
Fire: Premptive right 3 columns to fire / jammer, 23k and 7c minimum for 1 turn. Under 20%, locks the entire board and you have to kill him before he kills you.
Water: Premptive 50% shield, cloud, jammers. If you fail to clear jammers, he breaks them with a 40k hit and takes on a 7c shield. Under 20% has a 5 turn awakening bind then kills the next turn.
Wood: Premptive casino orbs, 7c shield. Failing to do damage this turn results in light and dark absorb with 75% shield for 4 turns. Hitting for any damage makes him cast a 25% wood skyfall for 99 turns. Under 20% has a 5 turn 50% time reduction then kills the next turn.
Light: Premptive locks hearts and lights. Turns the rest of the board into jammers. If you fail to clear jammers, he breaks them with a 46k hit. Instead of the heart break, he halves RCV then generates mortals. Under 20% has a 5 turn skill delay then kills the next turn.
Dark: Premptive hard blind and locked bombs. Should you not bring him under 70%, he casts a 7 turn locked skyfall debuff along with his 75% shield. Instead of a heart break, he will convert poisons to jammers with higher priority. This means that you can save hearts by keeping poisons for this turn. Under 20% has a full board to jammers then kills the next turn.
F4 : Betelgeuse
Always Roll Locks the left column premptively for 5 turns.
At the end of the 5 turns of rolling lock he will shield himself, 75%, break hearts and hit 21.1k.
He randomly does lock red or normal hit for a bit more damage. Keep in mind that the normal is guaranteed if there are no reds to lock. Under 30% he will heal himself once. After that if you bring him back under 30%, be ready to die.
Before moving on from this floor, use your shield for Artemis. The prempt is ~82k, far more than most players can survive.
F5 : Artemis
Premptive 82k and 5 turn awakening bind. Very useful to have a Grodin active here, assuming you’ve survived the prempt. Alternatively, Orochi also gets you through 5 turns. If you’re willing to tactically stone, this would be the place to do it. Her premptive alone would cost most teams 2 actives, leaving them with 6.
Hits up to 37k and has chance at skill delay (up to 2 turns). First turn is guaranteed 99% grav and status shield, so you can’t delay after 1-2 turns of the awakening bind.
Under 50% she has a really annoying 8c shield and -2s. She hits 52k under 50% so if you do this maybe heal her back up (or 8c and finish her off)!
You’ve never seen him like this. Has a horrible skill set, 100M HP, 8c shield and a 5M damage VOID (no Fujin). He has 2 HP conditional attacks, the first at 50% where he binds a random sub for 30 turns along with a 99% grav. Thankfully this only happens once. Under 10% he repeats a 73k multihit. His normal attacks are only about 22k damage. He will either convert an orb type to red and heal 5% (which is still 5M HP), or, absorb a random attribute for that turn. The randomness of the attribute absorb and heal can make the fight particularly brutal. Not all teams can tank the 40k that would occur from having hearts broken on his heal move. Teams that can tank 2 hits consecutively without healing will do well. Ares can be delayed as well so you can budget for that. At the very least, his first turn attack is “free” with a 75% shield for 10 turns.
Overall this fight really sucks for a lot of players / teams, especially after having to grind through the rest of the dungeon with Skill Delays, Resolve, 82k prempts, Awakening Binds, etc.
Let’s see what each of these floors mean to our team building strategy:
F1 – With up to 45.5k in a single hit, you really want to get through this floor as soon as possible. However, his resolve proc is only 26k. If you have a team that’s consistent in hitting to resolve every turn, you can use Ilsix to stall. Since he’s particularly annoying, I’d opt for a FUA kill here.
F2 – The prempts are particularly bad. I’d recommend having a board changer that’s SDRd to kill this ASAP given she casts a 75% shield for 10 turns on the first turn. This can prove particularly annoying, raising her effective HP to 52M at max. The Poison skyfall being 20% is also particularly bad. I’d highly recommend a Fenrir active here to deal with it, otherwise you’ll face issues the rest of the run and having poisons skyfall can throw off your damage calculations. The following 2 floors are not that good for stalling (besides a few on Betel) so it would be hard to shake this premptive before at least hitting Artemis. You can gamble and just carry the poisons through but from personal experience, sometimes you just get insane amounts of poisons (~50%) from some bad RNG and that can end a run right there. Keep in mind, if you tactically stone, this skyfall will be removed too. Should you not manage to kill, under 30% HP she has a 10 turn 800k damage absorb. Letting her live too long will definitely cost you actives / a lot of time / potentially death.
F3 – Almost all of the orb dragons have combo shields / damage shields. With the combo shield on Ares, it’s imperative that you bring a lead that can 7-8c consistently. This also means bringing enough Time Extend to make use of it too. I’d budget a board change here if possible just to smooth out the run. With the different effects that they have you should aim to get through as soon as possible. For example, you don’t want to get stuck with a 25% wood orb skyfall for 99 turns. This can prove poor for heart orb skyfalls later on in the dungeon depending on the strategy you use.
Fire: Board change and kill right away.
Blue: Board change and kill right away.
Green: Board change and kill right away.
Light: Match poisons / hearts / lights (will hit 46k if poisons exist the next turn). Board change and kill the next turn.
Dark: Match the bombs. Board change and kill the next turn.
F4 – This is the lowest damage you’ll be facing in the run so it makes sense that you might want to stall a bit here since you don’t want to necessarily carry the rolling lock forward either. Depending on your RCV you can feasibly stall out poisons / his 75% shield / get all your skills back up here. You’ll need to shield before moving on.
F5 – Her damage, skill delays and other hits don’t make it worth stalling here, considering the previous floor hit for a third. Use your Grodin / Delay active and kill as soon as possible. She’s kind of squishy considering she’s so late in the Floor 9 dungeon.
F6 – You need a tanky team. If you have Pixel Cloud, you can very easily one shot Ares. However, keep in mind the 8c shield means that with a box on 6×5 you need to hit a near optimal board + have a 2c additional active. Otherwise, 7×6 lead would be the way to go for that method.
I would consider tactically stoning after the 30 turn bind, if you’re planning on using stones for this run. Otherwise, building for fully unbindable subs would be a nice option here to avoid having key actives get bound. You can also inherit your key actives on leads if you really need them for the Ares fight.
Unfortunately this dungeon has heavy requirements for consistency. So much so that I’ll make you a nice list in order of the floors they’re relevant:
- Fua is highly recommended for Floor 1
- SDR (can be expensive / limited to a lot of players)
- Board Changers (2-3)
- High RCV
- Shield (I recommend Shaitan)
- Grodin / Delay
- (Optional) Void for Ares
- (Optional) Fenrir for poison skyfall
- When all else fails, $$$
First off, it’s definitely possible with RAth lead! But as mentioned above, I had all the requirements that I needed.
So I mentioned that Shaitan and that’s actually an absolutely massive boost for this clear compared to something like Ganesha / Raph. The reason being is that it 100% voids Artemis for 3 turns (premptive, 99% grav, first random hit). However, it doubles as a full void against Ares when he’s sub 50% (turned to wood attribute) for 3 turns. This can be particularly helpful when grinding him at the low HP range where his hit turns to about 73k.
Similarly, while Grodin active won’t do much against the 30 turn bind, a delay used on Artemis will still be applicable against Ares if it comes back up. I’d just like to note however that if you use Shaitan to tank the first turns of Artemis, her status shield doesn’t let you delay her. If you Orochi delay right from the start, you will need to wait for her first attack before you get your awakenings back. This isn’t a terrible move considering her first attack is the gravity. This will also provide the rest of your cards 3-4 more turns of skill charge which might prove very useful when moving onto Ares. I would NOT recommend any delays shorter than Awoken Orochi for this (4 turn) because otherwise you’ll have to tank 1 or more turns of Artemis while still awoken bound.
If you’re building for >42k HP you can use a 50% shield to tank Artemis premptive and it also allows you to tank 2 hits of Ares consecutively without healing. Some leads can hit this HP with the +15% badge and some higher HP subs. A 50% shield like Susano can help a player tank the premptive and stall out the greater part of Artemis awakening bind. Just use the first turn of Artemis to save for hearts and really start healing the turn after the gravity. 50% shields are nice against Ares too for prolonged defense compared to using something like Ganesha / Raph which is much shorter in duration.
Since the first 4 floors are dragon, I’d definitely recommend dragon killers. If your team supports it, Tsubaki is fantastic. This would also mean you’d want to have your board changers generating reds. Saria and Urd are perfect for this.
Using the Tsubaki and Urd (she has FUA) as a base for this team, following the logic of high RCV I’d particularly recommend Trailo for this dungeon. Her activation requirements meet Ares / others perfectly. Her 1.5x HP and >6x RCV make healing back a breeze with hearts (NOTE: THE RCV IS TIED TO 8+ COMBOS, MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO STALL). Subbing cards like Urd / Tsubaki / Ilmina will make her shine. Best when paired with Diablos to guarantee the 8c activation. Alternatively, Ilm x Ilm or Ilm x Ilmina can support the Tsubaki and Saria (also has FUA) as subs. Ilm has 2.5x RCV with 4+ combos but most of the damage is tied to hitting light and fire combos, making it more realistic to stall longer periods without killing. Saria as an addition to the FUA family as of this week makes her a very strong candidate. As the leads are board changers themselves, there’s less to worry about in that respect and would just have to bring utility on the subs (remember the Ares bind though!).
Dark Athena would be relatively tanky in terms of doing damage + dealing with combo shields. Her access to dragon killer subs is mediocre though. However, there is one absolutely fantastic sub, Chibi DValk, who has Dragon AND Devil killers, which cover the entire dungeon. Her 2TE will help with the fact that a lot of players need some more TE for dealing with the combo shields. Other dragon killers include Chiyome, Zuoh (HIS TRICOLOR BOARD HURTS DATH), Narga Hunter, Lunar Haku. All of those lack TE so be sure you can combo on Ares if you bring them to help with the early floors.
I’d also heavily recommend subs like Reincarnated Yomi for those that have difficulty hitting 8c consistently with a triple Haku team. The TE is very significant and some OE doesn’t hurt. She makes a decent active base for inheriting one of your many, many utilities.
There’s the standard Diablos x Anubis that most people used to clear this. The huge board makes it easy to fully activate and Diablos shield is really nice. Furthermore, the board size allows you to use a Pixel Cloud for the Ares one shot.
Lastly, you can do the cheese Grodin x Ama with Zeras and True Gravs if you’re really stuck.
Tactical Stoning: Explanation
I mentioned this in the text above. What this means is planning to use stones as utility in a dungeon. Considering this is only floor 9 of 10, I would heavily suggest not following this method unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that you can make it through Rathena herself. Keep in mind, the rewards for clearing the last two floors are: God Killer Latent, Tri-mask, 297 Athena. The Tri-mask being the only worthwhile piece and we’re getting one a month for clearing the monthly quests (which can be carried). The cards that you can make with the mask are not the most game breaking cards. They’re usually used to optimize something (like predra killer for Ameno, farmable true gravity). So heavily consider whether that mask is worth the stones you’re planning on using for this.
The biggest point to tactically stone would be the Artemis premptive. This hit requires 2 actives of most teams, however, if you die to the premptive and stone, there will be no awakening bind afterwards (and of course no damage). Furthermore, if you carried the poison skyfall up until this point, that will disappear too. This means you can effectively negate and bypass 3 mechanics with a single stone. For some players, this might be worth it. Be absolutely sure to prepare properly for Ares if you go this route so you don’t end up stoning and dying afterwards. Afterwards, the 30 turn bind can be brutal and if a high TE sub is bound and you can no longer consistently hit 8c, consider dying to stone and recover the bind so you avoid healing Ares while Ares heals himself (for example, R.Yomi getting bound on a Dath team). Since his bind turn is also a 99% gravity, you can die very quickly afterwards should you choose (or not choose, that can happen).
Heavily consider whether the 1-2 stones is worthwhile to you. See the Floor 10 guide before deciding. Rathena has 480M HP and players ill-equipped can face extermination and have a god killer consolation prize for stoning in C9, something that can be traded for easily / obtained in A3 regularly.
Furthermore, a single stamina refresh is 250+ stam for most players that are reading this guide / trying to clear C9. That’s over 1 297 during +30 descends.
Thanks for stopping by! When you have completed this challenge floor you should check out the next guide in this series!
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