8/12/15: Review updated for Mini RSonia and Mini Valk uevos.
GungHo, with its infinite benevolence and generosity, has graced us with another special REM; this time with girls in bikinis. I’ve gone over this before in my PAD Academy review, but in terms of value-per-stone these special REMs simply aren’t worth rolling in. That is, until you factor in those bikinis. Before rolling, ask yourself: are those swimsuits worth it? If there’s any doubt in your mind, probably not. The Summer REM is extremely top-heavy; Claire, Pandora and GSonia are all very good, but there is a steep falloff after that. There is a plethora of landmines in the 6-, 5- and 4-stars with only Urd and Awilda having value befitting their rarity. To big spenders, this isn’t a huge factor since since all that matters are the best rolls, but for the average player the chances of improving your box through this REM are almost nil; even worse than past special REMs. I’m fearful for those that finally roll a gold egg, only to be greeted by Chester. Buyer beware.
Will NA Get the MP Shop or Not?
8/13/15: No MP Shop for this event confirmed.
While signs are pointing toward NA receiving the Summer REM sooner rather than later, the major question is whether we’ll get the MP Shop along with it. This is critical because on JP Claire is available for purchase for 300,000 MP. This is an extremely steep price, out of the range of the majority of players, but her availability in the MP Shop gives her a fixed price instead of facing the endless uncertainly of the REM. Outside of Claire, the MP Shop gives users an opportunity to recoup some value on much of the garbage they get from the machine (and trust me, there will be a lot of garbage). My grades aren’t beholden to this feature being released, but keep in mind that in the short-term an already poor REM only gets worse without it.
8-Star Gold Eggs
As are no other 8-star REM eggs, this rating is made relative to 7-stars
Claire – A-
- A significant upgrade to the original in almost every way
- Devil type
- For an 8-star, not a game-changer
It’s hard for me to disassociate the raw quality of the monster from the method of obtaining it. While I’d like to judge Claire solely on her merits as a monster, it’s inevitable that her prohibitive cost will affect my judgment. So I’ll just get this out of the way now: considering the cost to obtain her, Claire is underwhelming. To get her, you’d have to roll for possibly the rarest REM monster ever at 8-stars or you could buy her for a cool 300k MP. That’s the same cost as Shiva Dragon. Shiva Dragon is a game-changer. Claire isn’t.
Those criticisms aside, Claire is one of the better monsters to originate from a special REM. There is almost nothing to complain about with six extremely good awakenings, a five-turn heartbreaker, new, relevant types, and a leader skill better than Lu Bu’s. For those lucky or rich enough to obtain her, Claire should be a staple on their dark teams for a long time to come.
7-Star Gold Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
Sonia – A-
- A relevant wood Sonia
- Strong wood attacker pool
- Much needed active upgrade; two-turn haste is incredibly strong
- Skill up fodder available in the summer dungeon
- Wood wasn’t in desperate need of a tank lead
- 15-turn cooldown is too slow
As a lead, Summer GSonia’s baseline for power is RSonia. Wood attackers are extremely strong, at least rivaling if not better than fire and dark devils. GSonia has the added flexibility of naturally encouraging both row and TPA play styles; while most of wood’s attackers are TPA-based, there could be more support for rows in the future
. For RSonia’s Beelzebub
, GSonia has Sasuke
. For Lu Bu
there’s School Athena
. Need a damage enhancer? GZL
. Not everything is 1:1, but considering how viable RSonia-based teams still are, it follows that GSonia is also quite good.
I’m a bit more concerned about GSonia’s viability as a sub. Slow, two-color board changes haven’t been relevant for a while and the recent buff reducing their cooldowns from 15 to 13 is a reflection of that. GSonia effectively trades in those two turns for a two-turn haste, which is extremely powerful, but is it good enough to make her a relevant wood sub? I currently don’t believe so, but if GungHo were to take steps to slow the game down things could easily shift in GSonia’s favor.
Pandora – A
- Gives dark more quality TPA options
- More flexible leader skill activation
Summer Pandora also has a baseline for power which is, well, the original Pandora. Pandora is good: Summer Pandora is good.
The question is how much better, if at all, is she? It’s hard to judge, but one thing she isn’t is strictly better. The biggest reason being the loss of a skill boost, but, ignoring dungeon planning constraints, trading it and a bind recovery awakening for two TPAs is a pretty good deal. Particularly so when you consider the recent influx of dark TPA monsters in Awoken Haku, Satsuki, Persephone, Okuninushi, and now Claire. Instead of better or worse, she’s simply a nice complement to the original.
But what I’m particularly interested in is the leader skill. It’s the same Pandora leader skill, but now has an alternate activation in the form of the Andromeda leader skill. Pandora isn’t going to put Andromeda out of a job, but that clause is much more powerful than one might expect. The most immediate application will be when you’re short on dark orbs to active the leader skill. Instead, you can activate with water orbs and you’ll still get the ATK boost with your single dark match. It only gets better if that match is a TPA. Now imagine clearing trash floors with this and saving your actives for floors that really matter.
Despite her leader skill’s new flexibility, it won’t make her an elite leader. However, Pandora is still an elite sub and the TPAs put her in a class of her own. I’m unsure how deep dark will go in on TPAs, but Summer Pandora will be invaluable and likely irreplaceable if it does.
Bikinitron – B
- Leader skill update is a huge upgrade
- Awoken Isis is a better sub in almost every way
Bikinitron was the original whale box trophy as she did very little for her owners other than look pretty. Sure, maybe you slotted her in on your water team once in a while to deal with binds, but with the advent of Awoken Isis she’s even overshadowed in her utility role. The inclusion of god type in her leader skill gives her a lot of flexibility, but an HP-conditional 3.5x ATK is still unimpressive. This is the 7-star landmine, especially for those that already have her.
6-Star Gold Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
Urd – B+
- The Norn NA Lakshmi users needed
- Even smaller on-color sub pool than her R/B original
- As a sub, there are few things that distinguish her from Skuld
I’d like to give Urd an A just from her viability as a Lakshmi sub. JP has long been able to enjoy Trunk’s wood to water orb change which is particularly potent when paired with Skuld’s board change, resulting in the perfect Lakshmi board. Now NA Lakshmi users can join in on the Norn fun by comboing Summer Urd with Andromeda; all without sacrificing monster quality (I’m looking at you, Kamui). While not all Lakshmi users will necessarily want to use this combination, especially when Awoken Karin is released, Summer Urd should still be a strong consideration to obtain if only to have the option for the future.
Outside of that role, Urd is quite lackluster. The B/R sub pool is even worse than R/B so there’s little incentive to run her over Skuld. As a sub, there is little to distinguish her from Skuld even down to their shared 6-star rarity. The most interesting distinction is in their stats, with Skuld having a bigger butt while Urd has more ATK. Considering that water teams can be ATK deprived at times, Urd is certainly a good alternative.
Chester – D
Why GungHo, why? Chester had a very narrow window where he was relevant, but soon after his release every uevo under the sun started to come with skill bind resists. To make matters worse, water is one of the elements that needed Chester the least, especially since one of its elite subs, Andromeda, comes with two. If Bikinitron is the landmine of the 7-stars, Chester is the landmine of the entire REM. Them feels when you roll a gold egg and this turd pops out.
Mini DMeta – C
- DMeta’s upgraded leader skill is quite strong
- Take the normal DMeta, then take away her best awakenings
DMeta’s glory days seemed to be long past. With the awoken Egyptians and Indians, there wasn’t much incentive to deal with her HP condition for a paltry 16x return. Well, it appears all she needed was a 1.35x HP multiplier (1.82x when paired with another DMeta) to regain much of her lost relevancy. While it’s still questionable if managing life totals is worth the effort, it’s much, much easier to do so now and enables many endgame possibilities.
The being said, DMeta’s mini version is just horrible. They took the original’s five best awakenings and replaced them with two mediocre ones. While a TPA-based DMeta team sounds intriguing, doing so with your leaders contributing no skill boosts isn’t much incentive. As a sub, her active is still good, but without those awakenings DIzanami is usually a better damage shield option. While not on the level of Chester, this will be a very disappointing 6-star roll.
Mini LMeta – C+
- Barely passable as a LMeta substitute, but there is still some some value in that
Mini LMeta suffers from similar problems as Mini DMeta, but where the bind resists are almost useless to DMeta they are critical for LMeta to fulfill her anti-bind utility role. The mini version won’t be replacing the original, but is a passable substitute.
Mini RSonia – B
- Uevo regained two of her better awakenings
- Just a RSonia alternative
In effect, Mini RSonia has only two awakenings as there is no optimal team that cares to take advantage of both sets of rows. This basically means taking the original and trading in two skill boosts, a bind recovery and a time extend for a single row. That’s a pretty raw deal. There is hope, though, as it was recently announced that she’ll be getting a uevo. Hopefully that includes getting some of her awakenings back.
Updated 8/12/15 (C+→B): With her uevo, Mini RSonia now has four effective awakenings instead of two. Luckily, they were good ones — a skill boost and a time extend — which is enough to make her relevant again. Now instead of just being bad, the extra set of rows can be seen as a simple bonus and a viable option to the original.
5-Star Gold Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
This set of 5-stars has left me at quite a loss. The Academy and Christmas REMs featured an entire pantheon in their 5-star slots. While rolling a pantheon god when you wanted one of the shiny, new monsters is a feel bad moment, in the big picture they brought a known level of quality to the REM. Especially since the pantheons were the Heroes and Chinese, two of the best in the game. This set of 5-stars doesn’t have any pantheon gods and the overall quality suffers for it as these filler eggs won’t help very many teams.
Mini Hera – C+
- A strong leader skill for farming
- Strong awakenings
- Otherwise useful monster ruined by a gravity
- Only a few high-synergy subs
Mini Hera is actually interesting, at least as a potential farming lead, and is a huge upgrade from the original Divine Queen Hera. I’m not a fan of HP-conditional leader skills, but her 3.5x ATK is fairly easy to maintain at 50% or higher HP and the 1.5x RCV boost is a nice bonus. While dark doesn’t really support devil-gods with TPAs, there are plenty of other quality devils to fill out a roster. I don’t think anyone is going to be happy rolling her, but if you already have some strong devils Hera could prove to be useful. Outside of that, though, Hera will do very little for you as her gravity makes her nigh unusable as a sub.
Mini Hera-Up – C+
- Three fire orb enhances with an orb enhance active; don’t underestimate OE damage
- The original Hera-Up isn’t relevant, so it’s very unlikely that this derivative version will be either
Orb enhance awakenings have slowly been gaining relevancy, especially with the recent proliferation of the “match five orbs with at least one enhanced orb” leader skill clause. While the combination of three fire orb enhance awakenings and an orb enhance active are a potent damage combination, I’m skeptical of her usefulness for two reasons. First, the original hasn’t done much as leader or sub, making it unlikely that the mini version will either. Second, Awoken Horus just seems like an overall better choice, especially since you can use his orb enhance twice of often.
Mini Lilith – C-
- Devil TPAs aren’t a thing
When the Christmas REM rolled around last year, I was excited about Mini Lilith. My naive mind thought devil TPAs could be a thing. I could run a Beelzebub team with Dill Sirius and Persephone and everything would be great. Suffice to say, it was a horrible idea. In the end, a Lilith is still a Lilith, the main difference being this one is a troll REM gold egg while the others are farmable.
Mini Valk – A
- Triple TPAs + heartbreaker
- Uevo’s +300 ATK is a huge boost
- Amazing awakenings
- Now has god type
- Even with the upgrades, still faces stiff competition with Iria
Back when Mini Valk first came out, triple TPAs were still a rarity; my memory is fuzzy, but I think only Kagutsuchi and Liu Bei had been released in JP at that time. The novelty factor made many overlook her abysmal base ATK, but after about eight months of power creep with more powerful TPA options released, Mini Valk’s major weakness is no longer tolerable. She’s still a great 5-star and perhaps the only truly good roll in this REM at that rarity, but there are just so many better options nowadays.
Updated 8/12/15 (A-→A)
: Uevo Mini Valk is amazing, but she isn’t an ideal choice for many teams nowadays. Sakuya now covers wood herself and Santa Sakuya has Sun Quan, allowing them to run Iria
and her haste instead. Ra doesn’t have much use for her. She’s still good on something like Hathor, but the damage upgrade over the original Valk may not be as large as one might think, although Mini Valk now has much better utility. Despite these nitpicks, she’s still incredibly good, especially for a 5-star.
Mini Yomi – C
- High ATK
- Two skill boosts
- Basically only contributes damage
- Poor leader skill
I could never make sense of Mini Yomi. Her original’s defining trait was the pair of time extends, but they were completely removed for the mini version. The result was just a mediocre TPA monster with a horribly outdated active skill. If they had made that light row a time extend then there might have been some value.
Mini Luci – B
- Time extends are much easier to come by nowadays
- Horrible active doesn’t complement the time extends
When Mini Lucifer was released, we had never seen a monster with triple time extends. No monster since then has repeated the feat, but that didn’t prevent Lucifer from losing much of his appeal in the meantime. GungHo has been handing out time extends like candy lately and while no single monster brings as many as Luci, they are so much better in other ways that a once niche, but usable sub is now too one-dimensional to justify a spot on your team.
4-Star Silver Eggs
Grades are given relative to monsters of the same rarity.
Awilda – A
- A respectable damage reducer
- Five orb enhances deal a significant amount of damage
- Easy to skill up
- No skill boosts (what else can you really expect from a silver egg?)
Awilda is probably the best collab silver NA has gotten since Mamiya. Her orb enhance awakenings singlehandedly guarantee all skyfall water orbs will be enhanced and provide a surprisingly large damage boost. She’s also one of the few water damage reducers available on NA and the buff to a five-turn cooldown only makes her more viable in that capacity. The water damage reduction awakenings should not be overlooked, either. While currently not as useful as Mamiya’s dark resists, there will definitely come a time when they are relevant. For those that mainly run water teams, if you get nothing else from this REM, get at least one Awilda. She’s won’t be a regular on your teams, but when the time comes you’ll be glad you have her.
- They’re cute?
- Serviceable starters if you didn’t reroll
- 15 cost prevents them from entering most low-cost dungeons
- Lost value as skill up fodder due to awoken Chinese
The mini Chinese all have similar roles so I’m going to lump them all together. While almost all collab 4-stars have little practical use, one used to be able to take comfort in the mini Chinese having baseline value as skill up fodder, especially Leilan and Karin who didn’t have survey dungeons. Almost all of that value disappeared when the Chinese got new actives along with their awoken uevos. While there will always be value in a three-color board change, their mini forms just don’t have the types to support the teams they’re most needed on. To add insult to injury, they aren’t even good low-cost leaders at 15 team cost. It’s quite disappointing that GungHo didn’t give us a new set of 4-stars.
For those still traumatized by the Academy REM, stay far, far away from this one. While the 7-stars are arguably better, the rest of the REM has embarrassingly poor value. For those hedging their bets by targeting only Urd or even Awilda since they aren’t 7-stars, there is so much that can go wrong that it’s uncertain whether they’re even worth the risk. I guess there’s not much harm in doing a few yolo rolls — at least for the thrill — but for most players their stones are better spent elsewhere.
The whales also have a dilemma. On JP, even a series of poor rolls could be converted into the MP to buy Claire or whatever else you were saving for. Whether NA will have the MP Store for this event remains to be seen, but if it doesn’t that should play a huge factor in how much you roll, if at all. The counterargument is that the MP Store will eventually come to NA, but at least for this event that’s only reasonable if you’re willing to sit on your rolls or lose value.
Personally, I’m leaning toward dropping a few packs into the REM since I covet Urd and Pandora, but I’m already bracing myself for disappointment.