[WIP] The Switch, a review of switching leaders.

Discussion in 'Under Evaluation' started by Gleam, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. Gleam

    Gleam Member

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    Why write a guide for switching leaders?

    It is a topic I haven't seen directly addressed and, since UUVO Ganesha came around, has risen to a potentially interesting, though perhaps brief, discussion.
    I personally would like a collation of the options available to me. I will not personally be reviewing any switchers which are JP only, I only play NA, so do not have an opinion on any there might be there.
    With the advent of coop, and Ganesha's LS applying when switched out, switching both leaders out became a viable option, and it is to those players that this will be of most interest.

    Ganesha is not the only leader where switching would be a default modus operandi: there are Catwoman, and King DeviTama, however all others are JP-only. Ganesha ('s UUVO), given his XP boost, is the most desireable if you are set on using a coin boost leader, thus most contemplation will be in reference to a Dual Ganesha, Dual Switch-lead team, possible only in coop, as none of the options gain you any stat multipliers over any other. Naturally, this therefore applies somewhat to all other leaders ever too somewhat, however such contemplation is often most fruitful when given exact context, but do not forget, any leader at all could be switched out to gain the benefits switch leaders provide.

    The concept of the switch leader has been in PAD for a long time: Tengu was the first, and still arguably has his niche, although there are now strong other contenders even for there. Tengu's skill is a zombie team classic: I used it myself on a Devil tank team to weather Legendary Earth ( http://puzzleanddragonsforum.com/th...-and-general-tactics.19407/page-5#post-417615 ). Using zombie teams is a rare strategy these days, as the multi-hit was introduced to counter it, which is in place in a significant proportion of bosses and other places, nonetheless it still has its niche.

    Initial Groupings: I shall be grouping by Leader skill.


    Wangren: 3x ATK for :fire: Fire @ 100% HP
    EVO Wangren: 4x ATK for :fire: Fire @ 100% HP
    Beyzul: 3x ATK for :water: Water @ 100% HP
    EVO Beyzul: 4x ATK for :water: Water @ 100% HP
    Nazca: 3x ATK for :earth: Wood @ 100% HP

    Baalbek: 3x ATK for :fire: Fire when under 50% HP
    , Threedia: 4x ATK for :earth: Wood when under 50% HP
    Antikythera: 5x ATK for :water: Water under 5% HP
    Folklore: 5x ATK under 5% HP


    Vermilionyt 50% :fire: Fire & :light: Light resist.
    Damascus 50% :fire: Fire & :dark: Dark resist.
    Adamant 50% :earth: Wood & :dark: Dark resist.
    Mythril 50% :earth: Wood & :water: Water resist.
    Orichalcum 50% :water: Water & :light: Light resist.
    CrystalSkull 25% All damage reduction.
    Nebradisk 75% All damage reduction at 100% HP.
    Kotodama 50% All damage reduction under 50% HP.

    Great Tengu: 50% Perseverance

    Offensive & Defensive:

    Mithril Edge: 2x ATK for :monster2: Dragons, 50% Damage reduction from :fire: Fire & :water: Water
    , Takemikazuchi: 50% Perseverance, 2x ATK & 2x RCV for :monster4: Balanced
    NY Tengu: 50% Perseverance, 3x ATK, 2x RCV under 10% HP.

    The main issue with the majority of these Leader Skills is that they are not massively viable without preparation, which is to say, most of them are terribly niche, and likely not worth bringing along unless you are going to hit that niche. Those niches are however exactly the topic, as any leader skills that affect your stats at all will be superior to Ganesha staying leader. This means you may not want to bring just one switch leader, you may want bring both a sustain leader who can take you through the dungeon to the end boss/bosses and also a higher multiplier burst boss killer leader. This will have to be tailored situationally, but various opportunities spring to mind immediately, eg Athena and various others will 100% heal you, opening themselves up as those leaders niche, and Dub-Metalit will 99% Gravity you, enabling the <50% leaders (unless perhaps you brought too many Dark dmg latent resists?), as would sustaining a Perseverance blow from one of the bosses that doesn't multi-hit.

    Active Skills ordered by fastest cooldown, number of skillups required in brackets.

    Skill name Unskilled Max Monster
    Prehistoric Wisdom 6 3 Folklore, Kotodama
    Truce Negotiations 13 3 Takemikazuchi
    Magic Stone Teleportation 9 4 Mithril Edge
    Browning Shift 20 4 Threedia
    Burning Shift 16 4 Wangren
    Dance of the Great Tengu 16 4 Tengus
    Freezing Shift 16 4 Beyzul
    The Switch 16 6 Magic Stone Dragons
    Wisdom of the Ancients 23 6 Mystic Dragons
    Skill Inheritance

    All switch leaders (save NY Tengu) are farmable, as are all of their skillups, and most of them require significant amounts of skillups to be viable. This means none (NY Tengu is 4*, so, none) of them can be inherited onto any other cards, however there are various candidates for SI onto your switch leader, if you are sure you're not going to use their skill again to switch out, and/or you have a burst switch. A very important consideration is that the last thing you want is to have the inherited skill ready on turn 1 (or whichever turn you want to switch on!), as I found out on my first experiment with SI onto Mithril Edge, which was I&I's skill. I now have a Karin with 1 skillup inherited on, freeing up an active slot.

    Under 50%HP

    The obvious candidates, if your prospective second switch is going to be Folklore, Baalbek or Threedia are skills like Durga, SoC Luci and Lu Bu, which reduce your HP to 1 to guarantee your kill shot. Durga and Lu Bu both enhance Devils too, so at least Folklore itself falls into that category, however there doesn't seem to be a hp->1 & enhance dragons or blues available. The intersection of the set Blue/Dragon/Devil is (vanishingly) small: Summer Chester (10% grav, :skull: :block: -> :heart:, :water:/:dark:), Late Bloomer (redundant dmg boost skill), BPD Zaerog (2x atk :dragon:, 15% grav). Perhaps Chester with Water Dragon Knight to break the hearts, but the niche you've picked requires hostile orbs provided (Dragon Shogun time?!)

    100% HP

    If your second switch is going to be Wangren, Beyzul or Nazca, Shower of Healing from Ama or Ceres would likely be your best idea if possible to guarantee 100%HP. Looking over the other Recovery active skills, no others look up to the calibre of guaranteeing you to 100% exactly when required, if you are having trouble recovering naturally. This opens Mithril Edge to carrying some other (niche-widening) active skill, perhaps a board change, delay or bind clear.

    The essential dichotomy with switch leaders is that of balancing the need for a viable damage multiplier with a boost to survivability, and in the majority of cases any sort of ATK multiplier here comes with onerous conditions: staying at 100% or under 50%, or even under 5% and doing anything but stalling for your condition, sweeping when it's up, and hoping there are no pre-emptives, inappropriate heart skyfalls or inconvenient poison orbs in your future (pro-tip: expect them when you don't want them) is no way to have to run a dungeon, even if your coop partner is reading from the same script (and 2nd pro-tip: don't bet on that!).

    There are ways you can make it work, at least somewhat,and I'm not going to try recommending you scope out dungeons for the rare dual colour ones (perhaps Zeus Mercury and Sandalphon?) that you can make 75% dmg resist, 1x ATK teams that are maybe viable but will likely put you to sleep.

    Thus, the leaders I think should be given more than cursory treatment will be the ones I think have a vague semblance of viability: Mithril Edge, Takemikazuchi, and perhaps NY Tengu.

    A cursory treatment follows for the others who have at least a small role:
    • Nebradisk for 'poor man's (switchers!) Odin': dual Nebradisk for 94% dmg reduction on first hit, with 1x ATK you better hope your RCV or autoheals are up to the task of healing all subsequent hits fast; Nebradisk/CrystalSkull for 81% first hit reduction, 25% perpetual reduction, Nebradisk/50% Elem for 87.5% initial hit soak per element...
    • Nazca, Wangren, Beyzul all have access to full board changers to make for significant bursts when their HP is 100%, meaning those max skill Zeus-Dios (Hera-Beorc), Zeus Mercury, Goemon (Surtr) can have places for kill shots: though not UUVO Goemon, or Noah, who put your HP to 1. Nazca's particular niche would be no pre-emptives, 4-6 significant floor dungeons, bring your 2-3 maxskill Zeus-Dios, click and swipe 4 times: Boring but effective? As I have no ALB, I haven't seriously considered any aspect of hypermaxing even 1 Z-D, so I have little to add on the matter, but to remark that it sounds totally viable within its circumstances given the ZDs' 2SB each they may well be up first round, and may not be needed for trash waves.
    • Baalbek, Threedia and Antikythera of course love the idea of Noah and UUVO Goemon's AS putting HP to 1 for their kill shots, (especially as UUGoemon is dragon) however previous warnings about running low HP conditional teams apply and there is another reliable way (SI Durga or Lu Bu for example) to do this.
    • Kotodama dual lead for 75% resist when under 50% HP... so, for the 50% reduction in HP to activate, what would be equivalent to 4x HP, 4x RCV, shakes down to a 2x HP, 4x RCV equivalent, which does not seem synergistic to survival to me: very very easy to heal yourself back out of the 'safer' zone and won't have the capacity to mitigate the huge hits you'd be hoping to save yourself from. In combination with ATK under 50% switch, this could perhaps access a >1 multiplier and play soak/heal with a 1-turn attacking boss fight that you have tailored your team to.
    So, to the meat:

    NY Tengu: This guy seems specialized to situations with monsters who'll hit you once, big, each round, but so long as you can keep healing up to 50%, you'll get to deal reasonable damage (for a switcher) and get help with that healing there too.

    Takemikazuchi: Unconditional 4x ATK and 4xRCV boosts for :monster4: Balanced creatures as well as Perseverance sounds like a reasonably viable switch. Dual leaders would result in a wasted Perseverance but with a payout of enough RCV likely to regain 50% on a single heart orb match. (The intersection of heart-maker and balanced yields a few cards: Perseus, Sevenzard, Toyceratops, Parvati).

    Folklore: His condition (<5%hp) is tough, but the 5x ATK is a considerable reward. He fits exactly into the 'enemy hits you with a >95% gravity' niche that a few enemy bosses provide, and passing so both players can have him up is good reason to save your only pass for this point... don't forget to activate whatever damage boosts/board switches for your buddy so they can blast away, or perhaps it'll be you who get to use the unconditional 25x to finish the match, whichever way, good luck not healing yourself out of the zone, and don't forget your ganesha shield/enhances!

    Mithril Edge: Unconditional 4x ATK for Dragons and 75% Water and Fire Resist seems pretty niche until you realize that the prime coin dungeons are Tricolor, and their contents are also tricolor, fill the team with your most synergistic dragons and go out looking for a buddy who is doing similar! Also an outlier on the active skill department, this is one of the only switchers who may well be up at the start of dungeons without further investment: I'm just now making up 5 dupes to feed at L99 for the guaranteed skillups, as the 3 SB (a not irrelevant contribution to being up fast) can come from feeding Mythrils together before evolution, however it obviously could be done the other way around! Given that 2 Ganesha provide 1 SB each, and 3 from a coop Mithril, it doesn't take very many more SB to be up at the start of the dungeon. I cannot imagine switching back!
    This team is the hidden sleeper I would recommend anyone develop to pair up with any random Ganesha running Phantom Bamboo Grove or Weekend Dungeon: I was doing this before the XP bonus, will be doing it after.
    My immediate example team is
    A. Karin, A. Orochi, Summer Awilda
    which gives a fast shield, a nice delay for something threatening that doesn't have a shield, and a full board switch+haste in skills, a TPA spiker and >100% blue OE so, plenty of utility, plenty of firepower when it comes a-callin'. Paired with this could be another blue team, or any other, I just favor mine being blue as Mithril is blue, but pairing with Red dragon teams obviously would be advantageous to defeat the green enemies that are such teams Achilles heel. However any color dragon teams are possible to gain color advantage for your significant damage dealing 3: I obviously feel very lucky to have pulled these (and 297 them, as blue was my first 297 project.)

    Some words about Ganesha parties:
    • Ganesha isn't intrinsically useless as a sub, it just feels that way in tricolor dungeons.
    • Nice awakening contribution: 4 SB, 40% Jammer Resist, 100% bind resist, 80% Skill bind resist, 2 TPA each, +1 sec TE.
    • You only have 3 slots for good subs.
    • Don't forget you each have a damage void and enhanced all orbs in extremis.

    So in conclusion:

    In solo play, most switchers seem to have their niche and can aid the player should that niche be what is needed to be filled, however it is in coop play they have amounts of potential and can enable the carrying of Ganesha (or other bonus coin leader). Circumstantially both players may even want to carry 2 switching leads, however this is subject to unusual amounts of collaborative team building.

    Monday Dungeon

    Both teams are presumed to be Ganesha lead and Mithril Edge Sub 1, switched in immediately.

    For your 3 slots for a Mithril Edge team, I would advocate Light dragons generally for the 2x advantage over Dub-Metalit, and a simple burst team concept (using non-REM examples).
    an enhancer (eg Pterados/Divinagon, Sonia Gran), at least one orb switcher (eg Tornado Dragon, Dafoud, Light Dragon Emperor Saiga), and third slot either another orb switcher or a board change which is complemented by the orb converter.
    The other glaring option for the Enhancer slot is Folklore (and by extension Antikythera, however Folklore enhances any attribute). As Dub-Metalit is definitely going to hit you with a 99% gravity, there is no doubt you will 'get in the zone' without further trouble for his multiplier, which both teams could have up with a pass or turn clearing trash orbs. While a single Folklore leader would be equivalent to a 2.5x multiplier, a dual Folklore team will have 6.25x multiplier over the previously dual Mithril Edge team, a completely unmatchable damage increase, leaving the damage buff slot open for further possible enhancement.
    Carrying Folklore however narrows your options down further and begs the question, do you want a blue dragon team or do you still want white dragons in your 2 slots? Blue dragons will have trouble damaging the green golem (who hits like a much smaller truck than his elemental alternatives, however RCV is often a weak point of dragon teams), but when Folklore switches in, the type comes off of the damage, so carrying perhaps Noah or Zeus-Mercury becomes an option. The conversion would also mean the Ganeshas suddenly are relevant as damage dealers.

    L99 base ATK 1768, 2 TPAs:
    For a single light (2x) TPA (2.25) damage multiplier: 25x2.25x2 = 112.5x1768 = 198900

    It's easy to imagine more than one TPA and at least a match or two on top of that, and consider that now a light, god, attacker or healer enhance would push that base higher.

    There are 2 (NA) Non-REM dragon board switchers:
    Chinbowdra (ALL -> :heart:; 100% shield for 2 turns, Raphael Skill-up), who would synergise with LDE Saiga ( :light: -> :earth:, :heart: -> :light: ) (or Valk, ofc)
    Fragrem (ALL -> :fire: :light: :heart:, 1 haste, Saria skill-up) synergizes somewhat with LDE Saiga (depending on the board and team composition)

    Initial Strategy thoughts:

    F1-3: Ogres

    Stall to be sure at least one Ganesha will be up for the final floor. F2's ogres are Red & Blue initially, so here would be a good place to spend a while before nuking their 2nd-half Green selves away, also one of the F3 ogres is R/B, so a good staller to leave up.

    F4: Golem
    R: big shot 14k 1st half, 57k 2nd half
    B: big shot 10k 1st half, 42k 2nd half
    G: big shot 17k
    If Red or Blue spawn chip them down to >50% then blow them away before they become a big threat. If Green spawns chip him away and heal your way to victory, don't take your time about it though as RCV isn't dragon's strongest suite generally, and there's no guarantee you will be fed enough heart orbs.

    F5: Dublits
    R/B: 6k damage
    G/L/D: 24k damage
    17 hits, 430k DEF.

    Perhaps carry Jormungandr or Swallowtail for this floor if you're willing to compromise a light dragon slot and active for the boss, otherwise, match mass attacks and focus G/L/D spawns down first, 17hp is not the worst dublit hp count out there and in coop its feasible to soak at least one hit from any of them.

    F6: Dub-Metalit
    Pre-emptive status shield.
    800k HP
    300k DEF
    R1: 99% :dark: Gravity
    R2: 'Pump up'
    R3: 32k every round; 3-hit.

    Depending whether you brought Folklore along dictates your plan of action at this point. With Folklore you both want to switch Folklore in, and prepare the board for your buddy to switch Folklore (should the both of you be using them), and either pass or take your turn to enable that, at which point you should be in the 25x sweet spot, and you should pull off your kill shot (Mithril Edge skill inherit, big blob, enhance?). Don't fail and heal, whatever you do! (Maybe there's enough room in a coop team for that contingency, but how many variables are you going to try to rely on at once?!)

    Use the safe rounds wisely: if you have big burst skills and your partner doesn't, maybe pass to your buddy for him to clear non-whites/non-converters for you (if you're both working from this play-book) and set you up, maybe that's your job, however not considering taking advantage of two turns in which you are guaranteed safe (99% grav will never kill you) can lead to failure.

    Use the skills you've saved up for here: make the board whiter with a switch or two, enhance white or dragons if you got it, enhance the board with Ganesha. Let it go. You are also safe this round, with Ganesha's shield. Next round (should your burst have failed) your partner gets his go to save both of your bacon (maybe they brought Nazca switch, Zeus-Dios, Ceres/Ama/Yatagarasu: I didn't say this was a great suggestion, but I'm guessing it would guarantee final burst.)


    Contemplating Dual Mithril switch Lead team gave way to contemplating Dual Mithril first switch, Dual Folklore second switch team. Since Dub-Metalit hits you with a 99% gravity, it matches niche exactly with Folklore's big boost. Folklore's boost is also on a large enough scale to start considering recommending bringing blue dragons instead of white.

    Obvious Niches for a 75% Blue/Red Resist team:

    (By no means have I had opportunity to run all of these speculated, finding like-minded Ganesha switch leader team players doesn't seem to happen very often, I'm spreading the word however! ;)

    Any red/blue flavor biweekly/weekly Legend/Mythical grade dungeon should be easy pickings for these teams, as should the appropriate various coop Technical dungeons available. Note that binds are a serious vulnerability to the team: Water Dragon Knight/Awoken Sakuya/Green Guan Yu?

    Alt. Technicals

    Unless you have a partner and a strategy (many Dios, Nazca, and few enough floors to sweep you can get away with it?) for Legendary+ dungeons, these dungeons, especially during 1.5x drop rate (I don't envy your chances getting any pys to drop often outside those times, and not often during) do a very creditable job of XP, coin, +s and on-colour fodder even without Dual Ganesha leads. The best returns in my opinion are from Alt. Creek of Neleus, but I can never seem to have enough blue pys (or easy blue pengdra) for my next pet project, and always have more woodpy than I am comfortable using on pretty good mons who have skillups I've never got round to farming or starting to +297. Enough of my opinion however. I don't know how accurate the XP numbers listed in PADX for the dungeons are, but they are of a relative parity, but for MP the stand-out is Alt. Creek 15, which drops Siegfried fairly regularly, for a bonus that would build over time well beyond that from the other two levels.
    • Alt. Creek of Neleus (15 stam)
    I recommend a blue team for this simply to take advantage of the usually inevitable 'Yusui Dish' - 99 turns of Blue Skyfall, from the first Kappa that notices it's not up at the start of its round. Notably I would not bother recommending bringing Beyzul along for the 100% from Siegfried unless you can't find a better blue dragon alternative for that slot, he is so slow moving and Mithril Edge's resists take all of the sting out of his damage.(Bubpy)
    • Alt. Shrine of Liquid Flame (15 stam)
    Beware :earth: dublit 600k DEF, 33k hit, 30hp, focus him... perhaps bring Nepdra/Jorm/Swallowtail or other poison/direct damage solution. (Woodpy)
    • Alt. Hemera Volcanic Belt (15 stam)
    Perhaps a Red dragon (on the?) team to take the Taur Devils down fast with... perhaps Poisoner to sweep Woodpy if it turns up... 36hp, 11k every round will kill you if it can) (Woodpy)
    • Wadatsumi: Final 50% of boss is Dark, nuke that away before it comes to that! Green team perhaps but not Dios, as Wadatsumi puts a <5-combo shield up preemptively.
    • Hera-ur, Goemon, Diagoldos, Zeus Vulcan and Zeus Vulcan all look feasible with a few :earth:/:light:/:dark: spawns and/or boss halves to contend with.

    Legendary(+?) Dungeons

    Mostly I have written with the presumption that not only do you not have a +297 Ganesha, but likely also not a +297 Mithril Edge, especially speaking as I personally have no skillups nor +s yet on either, I am contemplating the investment, but in dungeons where you start at L1 it cannot be understated how much of a good idea it is to have as many as possible of your team +297: the last thing anyone wants is for that to be the difference between lost stamina and success!

    • Legendary Snowy Valley - Glacial Frost Dragon: Listing because I think it's possible, but not 100% sure how I'd go about it... Folklore?, Nazca+Dios?, Light Dragons for the final 30%? Perhaps a gravity to pass the shield once he's been chipped to the right place? Honestly, while it looks possible, the distance between possible and a frequent waste of stamina would have to be explored a little more: the hits are big even when covered with a 75% resist, which you wouldn't be in the final 50%, and recovering from big hits isn't the teams strongest area generally, so I'm not keen to throw my stamina at it without some more thought.
    • Volsung: The colours are right generally, although there are a few other coloured spawns to harrass you, and if you knock him into the 1% zone even 75% resist won't help you. Passing F7 and F8 looks like it would need two poison/direct damager skills up in a row (the Super Kings will each deal 16k every round: perhaps you can stall 1 round, but longer than that would be fatal), or perhaps a DEF void skill being rolled over!
    • Scarlet: Looks do-able 'with luck on your side': g/l if DQ Hera spawns, also g/l if you knock anyone into their Dark half rather than nuke them down.

    1. Ganesha; Mithril Edge (its not a high hurdle people)
    2. Fill team with dragons
    3. Murder blue/red dungeons at 4x atk, 75% resist
    4. Profit: 4x coins, 2.25x xp

    update 1: Active Skills section added.
    update 2: Monday dungeon section added.
    update 3: Mithril edge niches added
    update 4: Further thoughts on 2 switches.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  2. Gleam

    Gleam Member

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    These are my initial thoughts. People often reserve a few comments after a post.

    More Unfinished Thoughts


    Were ALB + n Zeus-Dios teams not a thing, I would not give Nazca a thought in general, however since I find Ganesha partners with Nazca switches and Zeus-Dios teams, it seems churlish of me to not try to have some thoughts on a coop team that complements such a team without also requiring you duplicate that team.

    The first question is whether you also run Nazca (which may require you skilling one up to be viably useful) or stick with your Mithril Edge. Running Nazca opens the field of subs to any green element sub, while sticking with Mithril Edge sets your niche to be green dragons to make the most of available multipliers. Delays and other ways to hit 100% hp again are likely the order of the day, the stick-out candidates (including green sub) are Draggie knight, B/G Sun Quan, A. Orochi, A. Cao Cao, Forestbahn, Green Wee Jas
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  3. Gleam

    Gleam Member

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    Like for friends and stuff or something.
  4. Gleam

    Gleam Member

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    Honestly, any indication this helps people or that it could be improved... gratefully received ofc :)
    I remember hearing about Nazca parties using Zeus Dios to pass something like Super Ultimate Dragon Rush in coop, but didn't include it as my stream of thought writing didn't integrate it well.
  5. Ghoulex

    Ghoulex New Member

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    Nov 18, 2013
    Overall great review. Great Mythril idea - I overlooked him for Threedia, Wangren, Beyzul for weekend dungeon.
    Would love to see more on team comps and dungeons that the various leaders are good at.
    Also would love to see something specific for Monday dungeon.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

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