Should you care about keeping up with the meta?
For a while now there was a bit of staleness creeping up with PAD and when I reflected on it I realized the issue stemmed mostly from playing the “meta”.
When Myr came out I thought that was the end all. I farmed up Myr and almost exclusively used her for everything until I finished my Awoken Liu Bei.
I went a couple months using nothing but Liu Bei for easier dungeons and Myr for harder dungeons (Arena, or anything that Liu Bei couldn’t do).
My BMyr team ended up significantly stronger than my Myr team (and to this day I still feel my BMyr team is stronger, though I swapped my Blodin UVO for Meri meaning I lost an important card to the team) and I used it for farming Ultimate Arena 3 for a while. Unfortunately there are no more partners for BMyr, but that’s another issue entirely.
The game started to get boring.
Why? You completely lose out on theorycrafting, player skill improvements, and general risk when solely using those meta teams, especially for easier dungeons or what I call mid-game dungeons.
I’ll specify what I think the different game levels are.
Starter: Early normals
Early game: Up until first descendeds, legend level.
Mid game: Mythical and legend plus dungeon.
Late game: Mythical Plus, Annihilation, Arena 1.
End game: Arena 3, Colosseum (usually when referring to end game it means consistency in those dungeons).
Especially now with coop, the lines are more blurred. I can carry a rank 50 in Myr descended which by this scale would suggest mid game, even if they haven’t even started clearing their own Descended specials.
So why was the game getting stale for me?
I mentioned before that I was missing out on some theorycrafting, skill improvements because I wasn’t matching anything, etc.
Liu Bei and other farming leads allow you to press an active and swipe through most dungeons. Guides exist for almost every dungeon (except for MZeus and MAthena and the Arenas) to consistently clear the dungeon with just an active skill and swipe (swipe means move an orb quickly to combo whatever is on the board).
Meanwhile with Myr and BMyr, you can tank almost every hit in the game, do insane damage (compared to her activation requirements) and have a very easy activation requirement given by the fact that activation is based solely on the heart cross giving you 59.25x damage. Stack all of that on a leader that gives you 4s extra move time leads to a fairly straightforward and low skill requirement environment. It means that all dungeons except for specific dungeons like MZeus, MAthena, UA3, Colosseum (and maybe MHera, though that’s questionable) could be cleared with a relatively low investment team, consistently. It used to be a stretch to tank Kali hits in Arena 1 but Myr’s 75% shield reduces the damage to roughly 31k, and with stat boosts from inherits and badges (or coop HP) you can easily take several hits of her >65% nuke.
This leads to a situation where between ALB for the easier dungeons and Myr for the harder dungeons, there was no risk outside of those few dungeons I named earlier and playing either of those leaders was a walk in the park (ALB was press an active and swipe, Myr gave me so much time to move that it became mindless to cross and match combos to kill).
This lack of risk, lack of planning required, and the general active skill into swipe led to fairly boring experiences such as in the situation where I was using ALB to clear dungeons I only needed to clear once (such as challenge dungeons for the reward). After realising the root of my boredom I started leaving ALB (and other similar leader) and Myr to dungeons that specifically required what they could bring to the table. For example, farming dozens or more of the same dungeon (like Special Descended Rush, where normal teams do very poorly).
What did I start doing?
I started imposing new restrictions on myself for dungeons. And by new restrictions I mean challenging myself to clear something (such as challenges) with as weak a team as possible or “fun teams” which involves leaders with unique activation or leaders that have high restrictions or lower multipliers.
The first instance came around with the Christmas Dungeon.
Gungho started implementing generic challenges to clear specific dungeons while having a specific card on the team. In the instance of Christmas Dungeon, the challenge was to use a Treant (from the Christmas Dungeon itself) on the team to clear the dungeon. I took that a step further and used Treant as a leader for my clear. These challenges differed from the Snowglobe challenges because those challenges did not count if you used the Snowglobe as the leader.
At first I paired with ALB and ran the standard ALB except with Treant as the leader instead of a second ALB and was surprised that even with just 8x damage I was able to kill everything.
I continued with this pattern.
Next I completed the NY Dungeon challenge with Bride Bastet x Agyo. Again a relatively easy run with planning.
There were some others but I’ll put the bulk of the remainder at the end of the article.
But from a more recent challenge, the Water Guardian Challenge with Bubblie.
Here we can see that a 5x lead is capable of clearing a mythical level dungeon (with proper planning / skills / comboing).
And along those lines I’ve been doing various challenges here and there with these types of “bad leads” teams and I’ve been having a blast looking at each dungeon, figuring out the minimum requirements to beat it and forming a team around the weakest leader skill for the dungeon. When I see all these players only using ALB day in and day out I feel like part of the game is lost. Power creep inevitably makes older content much easier. Even if I’m using 5x to beat the Bubblie challenge I’m using some fairly powerful cards as subs that weren’t available 6+ months ago. But in the end, Gungho is forcing us to play old dungeons again. At the time of making this post, Descended Challenge Set 24 is the current challenge set for North America. As an example, Izanami is from 2014. It’s not designed to be challenging in the slightest in today’s standards.
Take an old leader out for some fresh air, maybe use a team with cards that you have in your box but never had a use for it before, try a different leader.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll have more fun doing it but it’s a change of pace for a dungeon you only need to clear once compared to the same old “Dios, swipe” that is incredibly persistent in coop today.
The last thing I hope you’ll take from this is the importance of plus eggs, in all the challenges I’ve placed on myself, plus eggs have made the biggest impact in my ability to clear or not. I have roughly 150 +297 monsters now so I have some variety in my choices if I really want to push myself. I’ve seen a lot of people say that plus eggs don’t matter but I’m telling you now, they do. Especially on leaders that have stat bonuses like Acala which gives a 2.25x multi to all stats for Wood type. The difference for each monster having +99 HP vs +0 HP is 2227 HP per card. That’s over 10k HP gained from having the HP plus eggs for your leader and 4 subs alone.
this discussion I just want to say I urge players to keep a variety to their PAD playing. I for one greatly enjoyed trying out new leads or cards I never would have otherwise used as leads for various dungeons.
If you’re not an end game player constantly chasing the most consistent Arena 3 / Colosseum clear rates you have little to gain in chasing the current meta, almost all of the current technicals and Mythical Plus dungeons can be clear with very basic leaders.
Thanks for reading.
Just a few other fun clears I had with a little description of each.
Fire Guardian Challenge – Flamie
Naturally I used Trailmix (this is her skillup dungeon) for this run.
Descended Challenge – Heracles Mythical – All Attributes Required
This one had an extra restriction on it, to clear with the lowest cost possible. Here the total team cost is 34 for the clear.
Descended Challenge – Sphinx Mythical – All Attributes Required
From the same set as the Heracles dungeon, I did Sphinx with 32 cost using Batman Tamazo leads while still covering all attributes. (Moogle OP)
Descended Challenge – Zeus Mercury Mythical – All Attributes Required
Another one from this same challenge set where I went for lowest cost possible.
Wood and Dark Dog – Woodsie Challenge
Here I did Furvati x Woodsie for a whopping 3x multiplier to Wood types.
Did some Grida farming with… Grida?!?!
Cleared one shot challenge with Dark Agni.
This one is a bit special since it’s no dupes, a long dungeon, I didn’t know which boss I had for mine before starting, so I had to be ready for multiple possible outcomes. DAgni requires wood and attacker type for the 36x multiplier. Outside of that he has no other multiplier so he’s type / attribute restricted, unconditional 1/36/1 multiplier. Hitting the typing and attribute requirement is very important because you already lose the leads as a source of damage (unless you inherit Shotel which I did for one of the leaders).
Feel free to click the banner below to join the Puzzles and Kupo Discord Server!