I didn’t get very excited when I first saw the stats for Summer GSonia, at least when considering her as a leader. As a once avid Beelzebub user, I knew the stark limitations of a Sonia-based team in the current state of the game all too well, most of them being damage based. I’ll admit, though, that when I rolled her my curiosity was piqued: just how good or bad was she as a leader? The two-turn haste is incredibly powerful and the option of being TPA-based instead of row-based was intriguing. With that in mind, I want to explore if wood-attackers had enough advantages over dark-devils to determine if it’s worth building a team for her.
This post will explore the performance of some theoretical teams to help determine whether she’s worth investing in. I don’t intend to find the ideal team or provide a deep analysis of her various sub options, but hopefully it will provide some insight on whether to pursue the team or not.
If you want to skip over the entire analysis, I don’t blame you: skip to the tl;dr.
Establishing a Baseline Power Level
There are many places to start with GSonia, so instead of flailing around in the dark I’ll start by comparing her with a tried and true team: the Beelzebub-RSonia pair. This will be done by pairing her with Sasuke which results in a similar leader skill set. There’s a strong possibility of it not being the ideal pairing, but we can use it to establish a baseline and work from there. I feel this is a suitable starting place as it’s unlikely that GSonia will lead anything other than a tank team due to her relatively low 2.5x ATK multiplier.
The following criteria will be used:
- Can a TPA- or row-based GSonia team do comparable damage?
- Do the same teams have sufficient HP and RCV?
- Are there any other strengths or deficiencies to be aware of?
- All comparisons will be done in the context of a typical Challenge Dungeons Lv10. I can already tell you that GSonia is indeed late game viable; I’m trying to determine if she’s endgame viable.
- These comparison are only for her as a leader. I won’t be covering her sub uses.
Rather than beating around the bush trying to theorycraft ideal teams, I want to dive right into some damage comparisons. Since the goal is to determine GSonia’s viability as a leader and not necessarily find the ideal team, I’m just going to throw together a few teams that resemble the standard Beelzebub team and work from there.
As burst damage is of utmost importance for tank teams, the comparisons will be based off the two most common board types used for row bursting: 15-15 and 20-10 two-color orb splits. I’ve used these boards as metrics for comparing damage outputs of row teams in the past and I’m curious to see how it will apply to TPA teams.
15-15 Sonia Board Damage Comparisons
On average, a given Sonia board will theoretically have 15 of each orb type. Or, more to the point, one can reasonably expect to make two rows or three TPAs per board change. It should be interesting to see how this distinction affects each team’s damage output given the same board.
Beelzebub with 15-15 Sonia Board
|Damage By Sub|
This is the Beelzebub team I’ve had the most success with. I prefer Vritra over Batman since it’s more practical for combating Challenge Dungeons due to the shorter cooldown. The same team with Batman does about 6.3M damage.
GSonia TPA Team with 15-15 Sonia Board
|Damage By Sub|
This team was made to emulate the Beelzebub team’s agenda — a team including a 20-10 orb change combination, an orb enhancer and a damage enhancer — as close as possible except utilizing TPAs instead of rows. It should be sufficient for superficial damage comparisons.
The TPA team does about two million more damage than the Beelzebub team with the same number of orbs. It would be hasty to conclude that the GSonia TPA team has superior damage since a 15-15 board is nowhere close to ideal for a row team. However, we can rest assured that the TPA team can more than hold its own.
GSonia Row Team with 15-15 Sonia Board
|Damage By Sub|
Calling this team janky is an understatement, but the results don’t lie: it only does about 300k less damage than the Beelzebub team.
I’m not convinced that Mari is making the cut as a damage enhancer, so let’s see what happens when she’s replaced with GZL:
|Damage By Sub|
Swapping in GZL results in more damage, but Mari does surprisingly well for herself considering how old the card is (she recently got nominal upgrades as part of the newest Eva Collab, but these damage calculations don’t reflect that). I imagine that when the team hits three rows that the overall damage will be similar.
20-10 Row Burst Board Damage Comparison
A 20-10 row burst board is the result of pairing a three-color board change with another orb change to create a board that is, on average, 20 of one type and 10 of another. This type of setup is preferred over a Sonia board change since it’s more likely to produce a three-row, six-combo board for maximum damage potential. It also has the advantage of being a few turns quicker, generally only needing nine turns versus a Sonia board’s 15 (which was recently improved to 13 on JP, but the advantage is still significant). It’s unlikely that a board like this will benefit TPA teams since they only need 16 orbs to make the on-board maximum four TPA matches, but it will be interesting to see the results.
Beelzebub with 20-10 Row Burst Board
|Damage By Sub|
This damage is good enough to one-shot most floors of the Challenge Dungeon Lv10s seen on NA so far. Anything with higher HP that can’t be softened up before the burst turn will require the use of Batman or another 2x or greater enhancer.
GSonia TPA Team with 20-10 Row Burst Board
|Damage By Sub|
I can’t say I saw a damage decrease coming (the same team did 7.2M with a 15-15 board). Analyzing the damage further, the 15-15 Sonia board only had three TPAs, but its overall combo count was three greater including one three-orb wood match. This means that overall combo count plays a big part in squeezing out extra damage from the TPA team since only four TPAs at most can be matched on a given board. According to the optimal board chart, the best board for this team is a 16-14 split resulting in eight total combos, four of which are TPAs, which results in 8,779,657 damage. It can be concluded that, contrary to row teams, a Sonia board is significantly more likely to produce a maximum damage TPA board.
GSonia Row Team with 20-10 Row Burst Board
|Damage By Sub|
In the three-row case, using Mari resulted in more damage than GZL (7,245,380). This is a janky team, but at least damage-wise it’s holding its own. This is promising and if wood gets more row support in the future (Artemis?) this type of team could be pretty good.
HP and RCV Comparisons
I’ll continue to use the same teams as I did in the damage comparisons for comparing HP and RCV.
From personal experience, this amount of RCV has been sufficient to stall though most of the Challenge Dungeon Lv10s. The team struggles with damage on the level of Dancing Queen Hera-Ur or Beelzebub (i.e. 20k+ per turn), but anything else is doable. The team can swap out Zuoh + Pandora for Haku + Hanzo and Vritra for Loki if it needs more RCV. Making both substitutions has the team topping out at 9,606 RCV.
All of the attackers provide surprisingly good RCV with the exception of Meimei, but she contributes a good chunk of HP in return. Both numbers are sufficient for facing Challenge Dungeons.
This team doesn’t have enough HP to survive two Hera-Ur hits which is a definite liability. The RCV is fine even with Jord who has 0 RCV.
The comparisons weren’t perfect, but it’s been established that both types of GSonia teams have basic capabilities that are comparable to a standard Beelzebub team. While that’s a good start, there are a few issues that arose during the comparison and other outstanding ones that need to be addressed.
GSonia’s Low ATK Multiplier Severely Limits TPA Damage Potential
After using wood TPA teams for so long I was expecting better damage numbers out of that team. However, considering that GSonia’s 6.25x is little over half of Verdandi’s 10.89x, the lower than expected damage makes sense. If we’re limited by GSonia’s low multiplier, are there other ways to improve damage?
Row teams can improve upon a leader’s low multiplier through setting up ideal boards and orb and damage enhancers, but these methods have a diminished effect for TPA teams. Where rows generally benefit from the board being a majority of a single element, TPAs don’t benefit from an on-color orb count over 16; any amount of orbs over that either go unmatched or prevent TPAs from being matched due to flooding. Orb enhance actives have a diminished effect for similar reasons; the less enhanced orbs matched lessens the overall effect. TPAs still benefit from damage enhance actives, but only being able to fully utilize one of the three most common ways to increase on-board damage is a huge drawback. This limits the damage output of a TPA team when compared to a row team and is perhaps its greatest weakness.
The only other way to improve damage output is through a different leader or changing the subs. As there aren’t any sub options that would increase damage significantly without gimping the team, the only option is to find a replacement for Sasuke.
GSonia’s Elemental Weakness
This is an extension of the TPA damage issue. One major advantage Beelzebub has over GSonia is that dark has no elemental weakness. While fire isn’t a prevalent element in endgame dungeons, there is enough impact to be concerned. Lv10 fire bosses like Hera-Ur, Goemon and Shiva severely complicate GSonia’s ability to clear those dungeons. This weakness should be the impetus to replace Sasuke as a leader in order to find more damage.
TPAs Are Valuable for Grinding Damage
I consider grinding damage to be any incidental damage a tank team does in the process of healing up each turn. Since a TPA only takes four orbs to match, it’s easier than a row to incorporate into a high combo count, making it good for both damaging and healing in the same turn. This bonus can’t be ignored; while it may be difficult for a wood team to one-shot a fire boss, the possibility of grinding it down first then bursting down is a realistic option.
Why RSonia’s 1.2x ATK Bonus Didn’t Matter
What also surprised me was that the GSonia teams’ damage compared favorably even without the 1.2x bonus from reaching six combos that RSonia has. I attribute them overcoming this disadvantage with pure base ATK; they’re all attackers, after all. Regardless, that additional 20% extra damage would go a long ways toward alleviating the team’s damage woes.
Wood-Attackers have a Damage Shield
Of all the advantages wood-attackers may have over dark-devils, Light Susano’s damage shield may be the most important. This option becomes particularly crucial for creating teams that don’t rely on Sasuke’s HP multiplier.
It’s Like a Wood Beelzebub Team, But Is That Good Enough?
Despite some issues, the GSonia team still compares favorably to the Beelzebub team. In this day and age, however, I don’t really see that as much of an endorsement. Beelzebub already struggles with many of the later Challenge Dungeon Lv10s and a team that shares many of the same weaknesses — the biggest one being consecutive burst — isn’t something I’m interested in pursuing. This distaste is only compounded by the existence of teams like Ra, Bastet or Shiva that faceroll those very same Lv10s. Even if clearing Lv10 isn’t an immediate goal, that ceiling is a limitation one has to be aware of and accept when choosing GSonia to lead one of their teams.
TPA Leader Alternatives
If the major weakness of the GSonia-Sasuke TPA team is its damage then it follows that a replacement leader would have to improve upon that. Wood teams also struggle with HP, so it would also be good to boost that as well. Leaders that fit both criteria are Gon-san, School Athena and Ishida Mitsunari. Another option is to disregard those weaknesses altogether and attack from a different angle, namely pairing GSonia with herself. Sadly, there just aren’t any other intriguing wood-attacker leaders to pair with, at least from a raw multiplier standpoint.
For this round of comparisons, all teams will include Light Susano by default to compensate for the loss of Sasuke’s HP multiplier. This will obviously limit the teams’ damage outputs (by about one million), but this is a decision I made to ensure that the teams are still Lv10 viable.
As If Missing Gon-san Didn’t Already Hurt Enough
Gon does just fine pairing with himself, but his one weakness is team RCV. This is where pairing him with GSonia could help cover both leaders’ weaknesses.
|Damage By Sub|
HP: 31,231 | RCV: 8,925
That’s a huge damage boost over the Sasuke team — that’s without Athena’s orb enhance active no less — and the RCV is still good. The team has enough HP to survive a Divine Queen Hera preemptive if it goes all-in on dark resist latent awakenings. In lieu of that, Susano’s active can be used to tank the hit while also be used as damage control to help manage Gon’s HP condition. Gon’s active is also a nice way to deal with high defense monsters, something that teams like this can struggle with. Sadly, it’s unlikely that NA will ever get the Hunter × Hunter Collab so this isn’t a realistic solution.
|Damage By Sub|
HP: 28,036 | RCV: 10,052
The damage is decent and the RCV is amazing, but that HP is something you’d expect from a team that had no HP multiplier. The only options to increase team HP would be to swap out Liu Bei or GZL for another Meimei or maybe Kaede; not exactly the most enticing options. The damage is fine, but not quite enough to be comfortable against the Lv10 fire bosses.
Ishida Mitsunari TPA Team
|Damage By Sub|
HP: 33,066 | RCV: 9,172
This is probably the closest we’ll get to Gon damage-wise on NA. The biggest drawback is losing the ability to do consistent grind damage since you can’t realistically chain actives to activate Ishida’s 4x. Swapping out Meimei for School Athena and adding in the orb enhance active results in about a 10M damage burst. There’s definitely some potential here — maybe more for a row-based team — but I wouldn’t chase it since it still seems shaky for Lv10.
The Classic Sonia Pair
If HP is going to be a problem anyways, let’s eschew the HP multiplier altogether and go with the classic Sonia pair.
|Damage By Sub|
HP: 23,056 | RCV: 22,758
That’s a huge damage loss, most of which can be attributed to the lack of Athena’s orb enhance. If Meimei is subbed out for Athena the burst reaches 7,510,320 which is good, but not great.
As with RSonia, the team can heal to full with just a single heart match. However, GSonia has a few big advantages over RSonia. First is the availability of Susano as a damage reducer, allowing the team to survive a myriad of high-damage threats without sacrificing eligibility for the leader skill bonuses. Second is the redundant 15-15 board being close to ideal for a TPA team where it’s only mediocre for a row team. Lastly, the two-turn haste makes all of the subs that much better.
I really think this pair may be the way to go if you’re really itching to make a GSonia team. It will fold to certain Lv10 lineups, but it should play competently against everything else as long as there are enough hearts.
Going Rows or Hybrid Instead
If YamaP makes good on his promise on improving row support, there’s a good chance that making a row-based GSonia team could be better than TPAs. Maybe even a hybrid build could be feasible, using TPAs for grind damage while going rows for the big burst. Ishida Mitsunari shows a lot of potential and if something like the Artemis split uevo and Awoken Freyja both get attacker — one can dream, right? — then I’ll definitely revisit the team.
The Outlook Isn’t Great
After this superficial analysis, I’m convinced that pursuing a GSonia team isn’t worth my time. The damage potential is simply too low for facing endgame content. While there may be certain perks that the GSonia team has that I didn’t cover in this post, those can’t overcome the fundamental damage barrier, especially when elemental weakness is taken into account. GSonia may be a strong leader, at least on the level of RSonia, but that doesn’t make her a good endgame leader. For those that want to tackle the endgame with tankier gameplay, I suggest looking into a Lakshmi, Shiva, Hathor, or Osiris team instead. Otherwise, be well aware of the limitations of the team.
Even with her improvements, GSonia shares the same basic leader limitations as all Sonias. Simply put, there still isn’t enough damage or other perks to justify a heavy investment in the team.
Did I miss something? Please leave a comment and let me know!