[Everything] Your Day by Day Guide to PAD - Early Game Edition

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks, and Dungeon Strategies' started by justicegray, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. justicegray

    justicegray Active Member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    Your Day by Day Guide To PAD - Early Game Edition

    [Jan 6 2016 - Hey everyone; this guide (and the other two that accompany it) is really only of use as a historical look at what PAD was at a certain period of time (2013/14) and is incredibly out of date..in consideration to other people who might come across this who are new to the game, don't spend your stones on Satan. That advice was for a different era of the game.]
    [Jan 4 2015 - Hello all; I am semi-retired for regular PAD playing and thus I'm likely not available to answer questions on these guides nor will they likely be updated further. These guides are written under the assumption that Starlight Sanctuary's "King of the Gods" level is has the most beneficial rank exp/monster fodder/gold payout combination of any regularly available dungeon in the game and are geared towards getting you there as fast as possible. -J]

    Downloaded PAD? Confused? Wondering how you got oneshotted in that expert dungeon on Wednesday when you demolished that special Expert collab on Tuesday?
    Want to be able to succeed at this game without paying Gungho any money?
    Want to give Gungho all of your money but still want to advance as quickly as possible?
    Wondering how that dude ended up at rank 466 with 20,000,000+ eggs while you’re still figuring out Fire Forest Nerva?
    Do you sometimes sit there staring at the menu screen for 35 minutes wondering what to do with yourself?
    Then this guide is for you. This is from someone who has been where you are, rerolled 17 times, ditched the game twice and *triumphantly* roared back into business from scratch with nothing but a Messenger of God, Archangel to start with.

    These guides are built on the shoulders of several giants; they are simply a distillation of about 17 different sources, all of which are hopefully referenced.

    This specific guide is for those of you who are somewhere between the tutorial and the end of Castle of Satan in Normal Mode. This is commonly referred to as the “Tier 1” through “Tier 3” set of Normal dungeons. For those of you who are further along (or *much* further along) in the game than this, there are corresponding mid-game and late-game editions of this guide.

    What these guides will *not* do:
    • be a specific detailed guide to any particular dungeon - better people than I have written these guides and I’ll point you to where their advice is
    • act as a detailed “build a team” guide - there are many, many threads that go into detail about that all over the forums, and I will link to them where appropriate
    • encourage you to waste your stamina on Pengdras (with the exception of Pengdra Village) or the Thursday dungeon, or the random “Ordinary Metal Dragons” dungeons...you don’t need ‘em =)
    • have any math in them whatsoever - there are many threads that go into this kind of detail and I’ll link to them where appropriate

    What these guides hopefully *will* do:
    • answer the “should I reroll/is this a good starting monster” issue in a way that will never go out of date (WHAT?)
    • explain the “game” that Puzzle and Dragons is playing with *you*
    • tell you what the “pengdra cycle” is
    • right after that, tell you why it is pretty much a complete waste of time
    • tell you precisely what to do, every day of the week, depending on where you are at in the game (early, mid, late )
    • show you the best possible way to level up your characters while also being hyper-efficient with your stamina
    • turn you into a MONSTER.

    Table of Contents:
    1. "So where am I?"
      • Early Game
      • Mid Game
      • Late Game
      • Super-Late Game
    2. "And where am I going?"
    3. Stamina Milestones
    4. A small preface about PAD
    5. The PAL Machine is your friend
    6. "Should I reroll?" - the definitive answer
    7. What to do in the early game
      • Goals in the early game
      • "When should I run a collab or survey dungeon?"
      • Box size
      • Stockpiling evo materials
      • "When is it okay to spend stones in the early game?"
    8. The early game weekly schedule
      • Monday/Tuesday
      • Wednesday
      • Thursday
      • Friday
      • Saturday
    9. Levels to watch out for
    10. Early-game teams to build
      • Wednesday/Friday Expert Dungeon farming team
      • Your “working” team

    1. “So where am I?”

    Your progress in Puzzle and Dragons is best measured in two ways:
    • dungeon progression
    • your rank/stamina

    Here’s how to figure out where you are (note that these divisions are my own, although they do skew close to the way the game structures its progression as well)

    Early Game
    You are somewhere between the tutorial and the end of Castle of Satan in Normal Mode. This is commonly referred to as the “Tier 1” through “Tier 3” set of Normal dungeons. Finishing this segment opens up the “Technical” section of the game. That’s what is covered by this guide.

    You are in the “Tier 4” Normal Dungeons (Tower of Flare to Tomb of the Saint - Deep), and the “Tier 1” Technical Dungeons (Fertile Land to Castle of Satan in the Abyss). Finishing Castle of Satan in the Abyss opens up Challenge Mode. This is covered by the mid-game guide.

    Late game
    You’re finishing up the Tier 5 Normal dungeons (everything from Hyperion Lava Flow through Ocean of Heaven), and all of the technical dungeons up to and including Forbidden Tower.

    This opens up *several* very important dungeons:
    Normal: Legendary Dragon Dungeons, Sky Dragon Dungeons, Hera Descended, Heroes Descended (with each being enabled after completing the previous)
    Technical: Mech Dragon dungeons, Ancient Dragon Dungeons, Zeus Descended (again, with each being enabled after the previous)

    This later stage is covered by the late-game guide.

    Super late game
    You’re doing the T6s (last normal dungeons), Starlight Sanctuary/Legendary Earth, running Mystic Stone Dragon for fun. There’s no guide for this, as you probably don’t need or want any guidance at this juncture. =)

    2. "And where am I going?"
    The general progression pattern of the game looks something like
    1) Open up the technical dungeons
    2) Levelling up a team
    3) Get to the point where the Tier 5 Normal dungeons (Hyperion Lava Flow - Ocean Of Heaven/Legendary Dragons) are runnable with relative ease
    4) Run Hera Descended to get Hera
    5) Run Heroes Descended to get Berserk and/or Highlander
    6) Build a team to get Valkyrie
    7) Build a team to get Satan
    8) Build a team that can reliably and regularly run the last level of Starlight Sanctuary - King of the Gods

    Depending on the monsters you get from the Rare Egg Machine, some of these steps can be skipped (for example, if you have especially powerful monsters from the REM, after levelling your monsters you can jump all the way to step 8).

    The point of these guides is to get you from point 1 to point 8 in the fastest time that your box content allows. The guides make no assumptions about the content of your monster box and is written as if you never rolled it at all. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to make good progress in the game without ever rolling the rare egg machine.

    3. Before we get started - a small preamble (and warning) about PAD

    PAD is not a "pay to win" game, but it *is* a "grind to win" game, with there being several opportunities to make the grinding less tedious.

    When you spend stones this allows you to do one of several things:
    * roll the Rare Egg Machine to try to get a decent monster to help out one or more teams
    * pay to restore your stamina so that you can gain +eggs faster, which will make your team exponentially more powerful (a monster with a +297 on them is an entire monster worth of stats, at 990 HP, 495 ATK, and 297 RCV).
    * pay to restore your stamina to run things like the Super Dragons dungeons in order to level up your characters faster
    * continue on a dungeon in which you died, in order to finish it and claim the monsters that have dropped

    Any of these things will speed up your game progress when done at the right time (e.g. rolling during a GodFest, continuing because you've almost knocked out Athena, etc. etc.) and that's how PAD works. Given a lengthy amount of time any dungeon is eventually beatable (in fact, some players have been able to beat a significant amount of content using only monsters that the game makes freely available), but it might take you much longer to do.

    Lastly and re-stated for empahsis: PAD is a grinders game. Certain things in the game make it less of a grind for brief periods but inevitably the pattern in the game is "grind to build up a certain team to hit a certain level, then grind away at a new set of levels to get to a new milestone", repeat x1000. Those of you versed in the world of the console RPGs of the 80s and 90s will feel right at home. If you are not interested in that kind of thing I would strongly recommend another game.

    To give you an idea, here is the progression path you will likely take (that mirrors the progression path of most PADers):
    * grind ranks on Tower of Dragons to get your team cost up enough to run most monsters
    * grind on the round 1 Technicals to build up a team that can run the T5 Normal levels quickly (once you've completed this guide and the mid-game guide, this is likely where you are)
    * once you have that team built up, grind on the T5s, T6s, and Legendary Dragon dungeons, using the experience and levelling to build up a team that can capably beat King of Gods in Starlight Sanctuary (the end goal of the late game guide)
    * once you have a team that can beat Starlight, that team can probably beat about 80% of the game content - use the incredible benefits of Starlight to push your levels even further, get a bunch of +eggs and wreck the rest of the game
    * build a team that can run the Coin Dungeons without getting killed, then grind on the Coin Dungeons on weekdays and the Legendary difficulty of the Gold Dungeon on weekends.

    Yes, there are tons of events and collabs but they simply aren't going to be beatable unless you sink either a significant amount of time *or* a significant amount of money *or* both into the game. These guides are here to help speed up that process somewhat but there's no magic cure to somehow rocket you through the entire game.

    I'd also note that there is *one* situation where I highly recommend spending up to 10 stones, but we cover that in the late game guide. DUN DUN DUN
    Whew, now if you haven't deleted the app after reading that, we're obviously in for the long haul...

    4. Stamina milestones
    While your current dungeon is a good “game progress” marker, there are also significant milestones in the game when it comes to stamina/rank:

    25 Stamina (Rank 15)
    This gives you enough stamina to run:
    the RGB “Keeper” Tuesday dungeons
    the Expert Level Mask Wednesday dungeons
    the Expert Level Spirit Friday Dungeons

    35 Stamina (Rank 33)
    This gives you enough stamina to run the Keeper of Rainbow Dungeon on Tuesday.

    50 Stamina (Rank 66)
    This rank opens up almost every level in the game. You now have enough stamina to run the majority of descends, the Super King Dragons Descended levels, the Legendary difficulties of the Thursday and Friday dungeons, as well as any Legendary level collab or special dungeon. You likely won’t *survive* many of these dungeons without using stones if you’ve just hit rank 66, but they are now available.

    56 Stamina (Rank 80)
    This rank gives you access to a second leader from each of your friends that are higher than rank 80 (for example, if you are friends with me and I am running, say, Zeus in slot 1 and Hera in slot 2, you can choose from either).

    76 Stamina (Rank 120)
    Hitting rank 120 opens up the Coin Dungeons, where you can pay gold in order to access their levels for an hour. While this is most useful once you've hit the late - very late game, they are also useful in the event you are looking for certain monsters that are capable of being 3x attack leaders (see below for more on this).

    100 Stamina (Rank 167)
    When your stamina is full, this allows you to run a Legendary collab, Descend, or Super King Dragons level twice. You’ve now also reached a threshold where using a stone to refill stamina generally has a decent payoff.

    135 stamina (Rank 237)
    this allows you to run all difficulty levels of a collab on full stamina, thus earning you a magic stone if you haven’t completed it yet.

    145 stamina ( Rank 257)
    As of this rank, it will now take you more than half a day to refill your stamina from 0 to full.

    5. The PAL Machine is your friend

    The PAL machine is a *huge* blessing at the beginning of the game, when you likely only have one or two powerful monsters and the rest are just the standard slimes/goblins/etc. you’re given at the start of the game. It produces monsters in four categories:

    • high experience producing monsters like Pengdras, Moltdras, Metal and King Dragons
    • junk fodder like a level 5 carbuncle =)
    • rare and not-so-rare evo material
    • “seed” monsters that you’ll need at some point in the game. This is the most important category.

    The PAL egg machine itself has two events that increase the likelihood of one of the following coming out:
    1) King or otherwise high level metal dragons of various colors
    2) rare evo material events (so that you can score super high-level evo material that is very difficult to get for anything other than a very high-level team, such as Keeper of Gold , Angelit , Devilit , and the Colored TriFruits

    As of this writing (Dec 2014), you should almost always save your PAL points for one of two occasions:
    a) When the rare evo materials can drop ;unless you have a team capable of running the very high level evo material dungeons, this is your only chance at getting them
    b) If there's a "PAL point only" egg machine (as of this writing, Japan has gotten a PAL egg machine that drops slightly lower levelled versions of the 3 Kingdoms Monsters)

    While you're busy rolling the PAL machine, keep your eyes out for the following and hold onto them if they drop:

    Resist Dragons

    This are the Lil Red/Blue/Green/White/Black dragons, all of which eventually become the dragons below, which offer 50% resistance to their color:
    While covered in the mid-game guide and the late-game guide, the Black Dragon is the most significant of this group for two reasons: it gains a devil subtype without needing an ultimate evolution which allows it to benefit from a devil leader multiplier, and...well, we'll save the last one for the late game guide!

    From left to right, the PAL drops of the healer girls are Naga, Siren, Dryad, Cupid, and Succubus, which eventually become Echidna, Enchantress Siren, Alraune, Archangel, and Lilith. (there are further evolutions for Alraune, Archangel, and Lilith - but these are the evolutions a player in the early game cares most about).

    (You'll note that these are almost all of the monsters listed in the "What You Should Farm For" guide as well, and for good reason).

    Ninjas: One of each color mid ninja (evolve from low if you have them), possibly four light ones

    What’s the rationale?

    1. The healer type and the dragon type are keyed to two of the farmable (read: free) 2.5x-3x attack multiplier leaders in the game. The ultimate evolution of Mystic Stone Knight , Ancient Dragon Knight Zeal gives 3x attack to all dragons while Valkyrie’s ultimate evolution grants 3x attack to all healer types. By having one of each of these and a matching leader, you are able to build yourself a “rainbow farming” team. This is a team that - at high levels - can pretty much clear a floor of monsters up to T5 normal level and T3 technical level simply by matching 5 orbs of any color (and potentially one other set of three). Disclaimer: Valkyrie’s dungeon is very hard and in fact isn’t runnable by someone in the early game due to the stamina requirements but in the late game it becomes very useful.
    2. Echidna, Siren, and Lilith all have very useful active skills. Echidna (turn delay) and Siren (fire orbs into hearts) are the backbone of many teams well into the late game. Lilith’s poison skill does damage each round regardless of armor, which helps immensely against Neptune (Ocean of Heaven, Hera Descended), Ifrit (Hyperion Lava Flow), and the Super King Metal Dragons in the event you don’t have the raw firepower to take them down. It also makes running the Wed/Fri dungeon incredibly easy if you have 4 of her. The only situation where you don’t need to worry about getting Lilith is if you already have other monsters with poison (Neptune ,AB Bluebird Blues, Ghostring, BAO Venomous Copperhead, etc.), but the chances of that are slim.
    3. If a healer drops and you can level her and evo her, you can get through Castle of Satan and into the mid-game fairly easily; however by the time you’ve evoed her and levelled her you might be powerful enough to clear CoS without a healer anyway =)
    4. The four ninjas are used in an elevated attack “zombie” build listed under the “midgame” guide - it’s good to have them handy when/if you need them. You might not end up needing them at all. If you have a decent lead (and if you read through this guide, there’s no reason you shouldn’t!) you might never have a need for this team at all.

    6. “Should I reroll?” - the definitive answer

    If you search on the net or the PAD forums, there are at least 20 discussions at any given time about which monsters are “good” or “bad” as a starting roll, where “starting” means either the first roll you receive or the roll you can take if you spend the stones earned after beating the Tier 1 Normal dungeons on another roll of the machine. Honestly, the majority of monsters that will drop from the Rare Egg Machine (REM) are probably sufficient to take you through at least the mid-game.

    It's also worth noting that on average, you will get 10 stones free of charge a month; Gungho runs a new event almost on a weekly basis where stones are given away daily. If you're ever unhappy about your roll, you can eventually use those stones to get another monster as well. As well, some of the monsters that are “farmable” through collabs have enough of a leader skill to get you through the early game (for example, a friend of mine went all the way to the mid-game using Copperhead from the Batman collab).

    That being said, for those of you who are looking for a simple rule of thumb, here’s the process of elimination I use (note this is for *starting rolls* only, meaning the first 2 rolls you take):

    1. Regardless of rarity, reroll if the monster’s original form can drop from the PAL machine (see here for a list of what can drop) unless the monster is Messenger of God, Archangel (5* version of Cupid) or above, or Enchantress of the Sea, Siren (5* version of Mermaid) or above. Getting one of them in this mode will get you through to the “late game” portion.
    2. Reroll if the monster is *any* kind of golem (including the highly evolved versions of the light and dark ones, which do not drop from the PAL machine)
    3. Reroll if the monster cannot drop from the PAL machine but is less than 5* rarity (e.g. a Mystic Knight of some color)
    4. Reroll if the monster is either:
      • any evolution of Mystic Light Knight
      • any other Mystic Knight of less than 6* rarity (the 6* / ultimate evolved versions - except for Verche - will actually take you through at least to the mid-end game)
    5. Reroll if the monster’s leader skill is an equivalent or a slightly enhanced version of a leader skill possessed by:
      • an Ogre (e.g. Orochi )
      • a Golem (e.g. Susano )
      • or something that can roll off of the PAL machine (e.g. Hino Kagutsuchi has the same leader skill as Naga when she is ultimate evo’d).
    6. Reroll if the final version of the monster’s leader skill is a type or color-based modifier that only multiplies either HP or RCV (e.g. Shaitan, The Flame Elemental boosts 2.5x HP for fire monsters. But without a multiplier for either ATK or RCV, she is pretty much useless to you as a lead. Same goes for all of the other elementals).
    7. Reroll if the final version of the monster’s leader skill is an HP-based attack multiplier where the multiplier is 2 or less (e.g. 2x ATK if HP > 50%, etc.).
    8. Reroll if the final version of the monster’s leader skill is an ATK-only modifier (no HP or RCV bonuses) that is 2.5 or less (e.g. 2.5 ATK to all wood monsters).
    9. If the final version of the monster’s leader skill is a combo-based attack multiplier that only activates if you match 5 colors at a time or 5 combos and above and you are uncomfortable doing that on a regular basis, I’d *consider* rerolling. More likely I’d hold onto the monster for a time when you’re more used to the game (when I started, I could not make more than 2 combos to save my life, but I can activate Horus (4x attack with a 4 color match) almost 100% of the time and Ra...well, Ra’s a little tougher but I’M NOT HERE FOR YOU TO JUDGE ME...ahem...)
    10. If is your first roll, reroll. I’m not kidding. To clarify here, Anubis is literally the most powerful character with the largest multiplier in the game. However, if you are new to the game the likelihood of you being able to regularly pull down a minimum of 8 combos is pretty slim and thus he's a horrible fit for a new player. He is definitely worthwhile once you have the experience.
    11. Anything else that drops for you is *golden*.

    What you’re looking for from your first roll (or first two rolls) is a leader that can take you quickly through to at least the mid-game if not through to the late game regardless of your matching ability. These leaders take the form of one of the following:

    • Type or color-based dual stat multipler (e.g. 2x damage and 2x HP for all Fire monsters)
    • Type or color-based attack multiplier 3x or above (e.g. 3x damage for all Balanced monsters)
    • HP-based significant attack multiplier 2.5x or above (e.g. 3.5x damage when HP is > 80%, 4x damage when HP < 80%, etc. etc.)
    • Combo or orb color based attack multiplier (e.g. a combo of 4 or above gets you 2.5 attack, attacking with 4 colors at once gives you 4x attack, attacking with Red, Green, Yellow gives you 3.5 attack, etc.)
    • Significant damage reduction on a single hit (>75%) (Green Odin or his evolved form are the only two REM monsters to currently fit this category)

    If, after all of that, you *still* want a detailed breakdown of every single leader in the game...well, just keep reading the forum, a new discussion about it pops up daily. =)

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way: a bit about PAD and this guide

    7. What to do in the early game

    Goals in the early game

    You only have two priorities in the early game:

    a) getting through Castle of Satan in Normal as quickly as possible, which opens up the technicals
    b) building up your rank as quickly as possible so that you have enough team cost to put everyone you want on your team (e.g. if you have two gods in your box, you’re only putting one of them on your team until at *least* rank 50)

    However, there are two things that override those priorities:

    • If there is a collab that has a monster you need or should have and you know the monster has a good chance of dropping at the beginning/intermediate difficulty level, run the collab as much as you can. See “should I run a collab”? below.
    • If Pengdra Village shows up and you have enough stamina to run the dungeon, you should run it and use the pengdras pretty much immediately to give your characters a quick boost (unless those monsters are in their very first evolution; save the pengdras for when they evolve).

    "When should I run a collab/survey dungeon vs. x or y?"

    The honest answer is whenever there’s a monster you feel like capturing or a dungeon you feel like running - it’s your game. :) In the early game, I would avoid running a collab unless it meets the conditions listed below.

    You should *definitely* run a collab or otherwise limited time dungeon as a first priority if that collab has:
    • a monster with a leader skill or an active skill that you are interested in (as noted above, some monsters have leader or active skills that can actually serve to get you through to the mid-game)
    • a monster with a poison skill or a “high damage ignore defense” skill and you have less than 4 of these monsters in your box (this is important when dealing with the Wed/Fri Expert dungeons in the midgame, but even more important when you get access to Super X Dragons descended (see the “midgame teams to build” in the midgame guide)
    • a monster with an orb changing ability as an active skill and you don’t possess a monster in your box with that orb changing ability

    Two examples would be Bane in the Batman Collab and AB Bluebird Blues from the Angry Birds collab, among others. Bane’s active skill is the same as Ra’s (7777 damage, ignore defense) while the AB Bluebird Blues is the same strong poison that Neptune has; however the key difference is that Bane and AB Bluebird were farmable while the other two are very rare drops from the REM.

    There are also several “survey” dungeons that I recommend running as a first priority when they show up, until you have the monster that this dungeon drops in your box.These are more likely to drop in a higher difficulty but you still have a decent chance of them dropping in the lowest difficulty. Unlike the collabs and other limited-time dungeons, they will also drop on the boss level. Six of them are listed here, while the monster for the seventh only appears in the Expert level of his dungeon for some reason and is thus listed in the mid-game guide. Note that these monsters are also available in the Coin Dungeons that you can access at rank 120.

    1. Scarlet Snake Princess (drops Naga, which turns into Crimson Lotus Mistress Echidna)
      • Echidna's active skill is a 4-turn delay. Used well into the late-game, virtues discussed all over this forum.
    2. Dragon Guardian (drops Mystic Stone Knight, which turns into Ancient Dragon Knight Zeal)
      • This character’s leader skill allows you to run one of the easiest to assemble everyday farming teams in the game (described in the “PAL Machine is your friend” section). As well he is a great sub for a large number of other teams due to his balanced and dragon types and useful active skill (fire orbs to wood). All of the mystic knights have the additional benefit of being great subs for one of the more powerful late-game everyday farming builds in the game. (see the mid-game and late-game guides for more).
    3. Dark Knight Sword (drops Mystic Dark Knight , turns into Chaos Dragon Knight, Voice)
      • The perfect dark sub to an ADKZ everyday farming team, also a keystone sub for one of the more powerful late-game/end-game builds (discussed in the late-game guide). Active skill is very useful for a number of teams.
    4. Dragon in Motley (drops Pierdra , evolves into Jester Dragon, Drawn Joker)
      • Final form gives dual resistance to water and dark, and creates hearts like siren. Generally considered to be a cornerstone monster in at least one build for a couple of the dungeons discussed in the late game guide.
    5. Blade of Justice (drops Mystic Light Knight , evolves into Verche, Godly Knight of the Sky )
      • Leader skill isn’t terribly practical (There aren’t too many 2/4/2 God teams in the game) but his active skill (orb change dark to light) is useful for a multitude of late-game/end-game teams.
    6. Sword of Flames (drops Mystic Flame Knight, evolves into Burning Phoenix Knight, Homura)
      • As above, leader skill isn’t practical but his active skill (water orbs into fire) is helpful for a variety of teams.

    Evo material stockpiling

    With one notable exception, there’s no real reason to intentionally stockpile almost any evo material at this stage of the game; most of what you’ll need at this stage is farmable from the appropriate level of Normal dungeon and you’ll get some drops simply by running through the levels. Also, given the priority on getting to mid-game as fast as possible you don’t want to waste your stamina on anything that’s unnecessary.

    This advice changes in the mid-game and late-game (mostly because you don’t want to be wasting time and stamina trying to farm early game evo material when a critical evolution comes up).

    The one exception to the above is the Dragon Fruit that drops in the Thursday dungeon as it cannot be dropped from any other dungeon in either the early game or mid-game and it’s critical evo material in a number of early evolutions. I would run the dungeon until you have at least 2-5 spares at any time, depending on your comfort level and box size.

    Box size

    I’m not here to tell you how big your box should be; that’s up to you. However, nothing sucks more than ending up with too many good monsters to fit your box. Once you have a couple of good monsters from the REM, I’d spend every stone you get from clearing a dungeon on increasing your box size until you have some comfortable breathing room. A good box size for the early game ranges from 75 to 100 from most accounts - by that time you’ll have hit the mid game.

    A brief word on dublits and team cost
    Your team cost when you start playing is painfully low and for some teams that cost requirement is *very* restrictive in terms of building a team that can survive and pass dungeons until you rank up. However, the game has a built-in shortcut to circumvent the cost limitation in the early game: the Friday expert dungeon.

    The last two levels of the Friday expert dungeon will often drop you one of the following:

    and also one of the following:

    The statistics on the first 5 of these guys (HP 500, ATK 500, RCV 200) absolutely *dwarf* any of the early game monsters the game drops you, *including* your starter dragon. The last of them gives a *monumental* 1000 HP/800 ATK/300 RCV, which is well beyond anything you will see in the early game unless you rolled a level 30 character from the rare egg machine. The best part? They have a team cost of 1.

    My advice in the early game is to run this dungeon the moment you have enough stamina and a team capable of running it (see "teams" below for more), and run it until you have the monsters that correspond to the best fit for your team (e.g. if you're using a fire multipler, get 5 of the reds - if you are using a color combo matcher like Isis/Horus/Ra or the Chinese gods, get at least one of each color you need to match). Keep these guys in your team until you have higher team cost and can afford to replace them with someone with better statistics.

    To give you an example, a team with a dark multiplier leader skill and 4 dubmythlits has absolutely ridiculous stats for this point in the game - a 4x HP team with 4x dubmythlits on it has at *least* 16,000 HP, which is *way* more than you’ll ever expend playing through the beginner levels of the game and a 4x attack multipler means you will do 16,000 dark damage to anything anytime you match 3 dark orbs).

    "When is it okay to spend stones in the early game?"

    Almost never. Seriously. There are only two times spending stones in the early game (pre-technicals) is okay:
    * you just started this account, it's a godfest, and the 5 stones are coming from the very first normal dungeons in the game
    * you need a bit more box space because 20 isn't enough

    You don't have enough stamina in the early game to ever make spending a stone to restore it worthwhile. You don't have enough stamina to run the big dungeons anyway, and your teams are not powerful enough to land any monster critical enough that would be worth spending a stone on. Likewise, if you've already rolled twice on the REM, don't bother blowing stones on it again until you've at least gotten to the technical dungeons.

    For those of you who just have to spend stones or you can't justify your playing, just be patient - opportunities to spend your stones will come up very shortly.

    6. The “early game” weekly schedule

    (2015 Justice here: I want to note that although Dragons of the Tower is the best place to grind rank, at later ranks it is an absolute *chore* to play repeatedly. If you think your team is powerful enough to bypass it, skip doing itand run whatever dungeon you feel like on the weekends, you'll rank up soon enough through other means).)

    (All lists here are ordered by priority)

      • Run any collabs or limited time dungeons if they meet the conditions listed above
      • If you urgently require an evo mask, run the matching color Tier 2 dungeon until it drops.
      • If you urgently require a low level spirit, run the boss level of the matching color Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you urgently require a dragon seed, run any boss level of a Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you are under rank 50, run Normal dungeons until you reach Dragons of the Tower (level 3 of Tower of Giants). When you’ve made it there, run this level over and over - you will rank up and refill all of your stamina before you expend all of it. Dragon flowers and dragon plants drop in this level *constantly*. Sell extras that you don't need for money.
      • If you are over rank 50, continue on the Normal dungeons until you beat Castle of Satan, at which point you move on to the mid-game guide.


      • Run any collabs or limited time dungeons if they meet the conditions listed above
      • If you urgently require an evo or demon mask, run the beginner (10 stamina) Wednesday dungeon over and over until you have the mask you need
      • If you urgently require a divine or mystic mask...you don’t. =) Not at this juncture. But if you do feel the urge to run the expert version of the wednesday dungeon, you should meet the following conditions:
        • you are above rank 15
        • you have a team capable of running it (see “early game teams” below)
        • the dungeon is at 2x drop rate
      • If you urgently require a low level spirit, run the boss level of the matching color Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you urgently require a dragon seed, run any boss level of a Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you are under rank 50, once you reach the Tower of Dragons (level 3 of Tower of Giants) run the level over and over - you will rank up and refill all of your stamina before you expend all of it.
      • If you are over rank 50, continue on the Normal dungeons until you beat Castle of Satan.

      • Run any collabs or limited time dungeons if they meet the conditions listed above
      • If you urgently require dragon seed, plant, flower, or have less than a comfortable stockpile of dragon fruit, run the Thursday dungeon over and over until you have what you need
      • If you urgently require an evo mask, run the matching color Tier 2 dungeon until it drops.
      • If you urgently require a low level spirit, run the boss level of the matching color Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you are under rank 50, once you reach the Tower of Dragons (level 3 of Tower of Giants) run the level over and over - you will rank up and refill all of your stamina before you expend all of it.
      • If you are over rank 50, continue on the Normal dungeons until you beat Castle of Satan.

      • Run any collabs or limited time dungeons if they meet the conditions listed above
      • If you have a team capable of running the expert-level Friday dungeon, grab as many dublits as you can that will help out your team (e.g. if your leader's leader skill multiples attributes of dark monsters, run this dungeon until you have 5 dub-mythlits in your box). These are stupidly powerful for the point in the game that you are at. (see "a word on dublits" above)
      • If you have a team capable of running the Friday dungeon (see below) run the Friday Expert dungeon until you have 5 dub-mythlits in your box (mark these as favorites and do not use them for evo except for emergencies). See above for rationale.
      • If you urgently require any sort of low level spirit, run the beginner (10 stamina) Friday dungeon over and over until you have the spirit you need
      • If you urgently require an evo mask, run the matching color Tier 2 dungeon until it drops.
      • If you urgently require a dragon seed, run any boss level of a Tier 1 dungeon until it drops
      • If you are under rank 50, once you reach the Tower of Dragons (level 3 of Tower of Giants) run the level over and over - you will rank up and refill all of your stamina before you expend all of it.
      • If you are over rank 50, continue on the Normal dungeons until you beat Castle of Satan.

      • Run any collabs or limited time dungeons if they meet the conditions listed above
      • If you are under rank 90, run Tower of Dragons over and over. It is at half stamina so you will rank up and refill your stamina before you ever run out of stamina
      • If you are over rank 90, run the highest level of the weekend dungeon (note it is tricolor, so only fire, wood, water) that you can reliably survive over and over until the weekend is over or you are out of stamina, whichever comes first. (If you’re over rank 90, there’s a good chance you’re no longer at “beginner” level anyway, but I’m throwing this in here just in case).
    7. Levels to watch out for

    The only level in the early game that you may need to be careful of is the final boss in Tower of Giants - Wrath of the Giant (Gigas), who hits for 2926 HP every 5 turns. If you are extremely low levelled this may be enough to kill you in one shot, or if you don’t have sufficient RCV you won’t be able to heal back up enough in time to survive the next shot. Any other bosses that are giving you problems are likely due to your levels being low (and in the odd case in Castle of Satan, you may have not have a properly formed team).

    You can reference more detailed analysis of the early levels here.

    8. Early game teams to build

    Wed/Fri expert dungeon farming team

    You should build one team that is capable of running the Wednesday and Friday expert dungeons in preparation for the mid-game and so that you can farm dubmythlits from the Friday dungeon. A brief summary of the team makeup you should go after is either:

      • a Resolve (“zombie”) team - leaders of an auto-healer and a resistance monster (ogre, titan, orochi, etc.), combined with 4 low HP monsters of the same color (normally I use spirits), best if they match either the healer, the resistance monster, or both (for example: a Blue Ogre, 4 blue spirits, and an evolved Siren )
      • an auto-healer plus a damage reducer like odin/nebradisk/tengu, with any monsters inbetween as long as they match each other in color and hopefully one of the leaders
      • a defense break rainbow team (stall, use 100% defense break, do a five gem attack with any color every round thereafter)
      • some combination of 4 monsters with either poison or “lazer” (7777 damage regardless of defense). Stall for the skills to come up, finish round 1, and after round 1 active 1 skill a turn. This and the previous are definitely the easiest/lowest risk teams to go through the Wed/Fri Expert dungeons at this point.
    There’s an excellent (and far more thorough) guide to this located here if you want further details.

    Your "working" team

    You should be working towards one of the following teams with the leader that you have:

      • An Autohealer / Autohealer + Odin team*
      • A “tank” team. This is a team that multiples HPx4, ATKx1, RCVx4 with matching subs (read: subs that benefit from the multiplier, e.g. 2 SOD Lucifer and 4 dark monsters) **
      • A “spike” team (team with a large damage multipler, optionally with a good RCV multiplier, and matching subs. e.g. 2x Ancient Dragon Knight Zeal with 4 dragons, 2x Dark Metatron with 4 attackers, 2x Red Sonia with 4 devils, etc. etc.)
      • A “general” team (team with multipliers of HPx2, ATKx4, RCVx2). This team can be mono-color or mono-type depending on your preference (e.g. Ares/Freyr or Ares/Ultimate Evo Fire Starter Dragon and 4 fire subs give you this ratio). Check out the Advanced Team Building Guide for more information on these types of teams.
    * The first two team types likely won’t carry you through the entire game - actually they concievably *can* take you through almost all of the normal set of dungeons, but it will take you a very long time with either team to actually finish a very high level dungeon because you don’t have a damage multiplier. As well, the Autohealer/Odin team is susceptible to incurring damage when two monsters are synchronized (will attack at the same time) and also to being bound in a technical dungeon.

    ** I tend to call this a “get out of jail free” team that not only can survive most attack scenarios but can heal back up *very* quickly out of scale with the general game mechanics. The issue with this team is that its damage output is generally quite low without a member with a leader skill that multiplies attack and thus even an average level takes 10x as long. This isn't really a problem in the early game (4x HP means you are well beyond *anything* the early game can throw at you), but it will make mid-game/late-game a slog. The most well-known of these teams is a Seraphim of Dawn Lucifer x2 team.because Lucifer’s active skill is essentially a kill shot to 80% of the bosses in the game, and a second Lucifer active pretty much seals it. If you don't happen to have a Lucifer lead, you can replicate this with a High Dark Ninja as a team member with a Grape Dragon or Gift Dragon Noir lead at the cost of some HP. If you are going to use a tank team, you should try to take subs that have high damage active skills to make some of the levels less of a grind (e.g. the corresponding color Resist Dragons or someone with equally damaging active skills).

    In the mid-game guide, we get into:

      • Technical dungeons
      • New teams for a variety of new situations
      • The final survey dungeon you need to be aware of
      • The dungeon that gives you the most monster experience by *far* in the entire game!
      • An introduction to two of the most important teams you will ever build in Puzzle and Dragons. No lie!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
    Vaedriel and Astaranth like this.
  2. Haku-ku-ku

    Haku-ku-ku Well-Known Member

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    Oct 9, 2013
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    I think people are hesitant to post because these guides usually have a few "reserved" posts for the main author to edit later?

    This is a really great start, though it's been so long since I've been a newbie that I'm not a good judge. I will say that it took me a long time to learn the basic mechanics of the game, e.g. I think I wasted a week or even longer not realizing that this was not a typical match-3 game where you could only swap two orbs at a time. Not sure if that kind of thing is too basic for this guide.

    I think a section on "What to do with magic stones" would be helpful. E.g. use them to expand box space and save them for godfests.

    "How to make friends" might also be helpful.

    Soooo much time is devoted to rerolling on these forums that I personally feel like you should just link off to those guides and let others debate it. I think people spend way too much time on discussing and writing about it, and it's the kind of thing newbies will only understand after playing for a while.

    Maybe something about pacing, how often to expect to get free stones, how often you'll get PAL points, how quickly they'll level up, etc. will help newbies understand the time flow of the game as well.

    Nice work.
    ThePuzzler likes this.
  3. Esplen

    Esplen Active Member

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    Nov 13, 2013
    I agree with the friends part. My real life friends tended to not want to add anyone as a friend except people they know. This ended up harming their account. For me, I was able to get lots of people to add me so I never had a problem with helpers early on.
  4. justicegray

    justicegray Active Member

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    Nov 16, 2013
    Love all of this. Thank you for it.

    Haku: I may throw some of this into a "so you're *really* new" sort of thing down the road: I actually went a while without realizing you could move orbs all over the screen vs. just on one axis. It was so bad that I couldn't understand how any human being could defeat a divine mask if they didn't have crazy attack power. :) It blew my mind when I realized I could match them differently!

    Part of the reason that I didn't add this stuff (along with explanations of terms, etc.) is that I was assuming someone seeking out the forums and signing up was already somewhat familiar with the game vs. being a complete stranger. But it's definitely valuable.

    It's exactly because the leader thing is so hotly debated (and tends to change with each ultimate evolution) that I just put up my general rule of thumb and left it at that. Stones are given so often at this juncture that if someone wants to re-roll they really only need to wait one or two weeks to get more stones to do so. (the friend that I mention mained Copperhead through to the Technicals simply got given more stones and rolled Isis and then Ra, so he was pretty much set). Your starting roll may not be a roll that will let you 0-stone legendary earth, but you don't often need it to be to get into the game and enjoy it.

    Esplen: it might be hard for me to write a "how to make friends" guide - I never had any difficulty making in-game friends (mostly because I pretty much had fairly popular leads every time I started and evolved). I know there are forum directories for that sort of thing, but given how frequently people change their leads...
  5. Vaedriel

    Vaedriel Lost in the Shadows

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    Jun 17, 2015
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    Thank you for writing this guide! It was a huge help for me, as a new player. I re-rolled my account in Mid-May and now 2 months later I am in the Late Game and just about ready to try my first Descended dungeon. I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into writing this guide and would recommend it to anyone just starting the game.

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