I’m going to be busy for the entire month of March so I wanted to get this post done before my free time dissipates completely. Whether this is actually the next ranking dungeon or not remains to be seen, but by way of GungHo’s Twitter mismanagement it appears to be the case.
I’ve seen many players complain about the ranking dungeon scoring system; for the most part, the ability to sandbag combo count to emphasize speed seems like a counterintuitive strategy. PAD should be about puzzling, right? Well, Takeminakata is the first ranking dungeon where the average player won’t be penalized for going for the extra combo by virtue of being a five-floor dungeon. When combined with the no actives constraint, this iteration may be the most fair it’s ever going to get — at least until we start getting preset teams.
I’m going to deviate a bit from the format I established earlier so I can get right to the point: Takeminakata is only five floors which changes the focus of score efficiency. Take a look at this:
|Ranking Dungeons: Average Combo vs. Time Remaning|
|Seconds / Combo||1.10||0.77||0.53||0.35||0.21||0.10|
|Combo / 4 Sec.||3.64||5.22||7.57||11.43||18.95||40.00|
This table was constructed using what is known about the ranking dungeon scoring system (5,000 points per average combo, 500 points for each second remaining) and factoring the costs of combo animations. This is basically just an extension of what is said in dacho’s video and I highly recommend watching it for some context. The labels I used in the table are a bit cryptic, so here are some brief explanations:
- Floors: The number of floors in a given ranking dungeon. In other words, the number of puzzles you solve to clear the dungeon.
- Combo Weight: The affect an additional match would have on your average combo i.e. the inverse of the number of floors.
- Score Equivalent: The amount of average combo points you would get for making an additional match assuming the number of floors remains constant.
- Combo Good?: Whether an additional non-cascaded combo is beneficial for your score. FYI, at 12 floors an additional combo is bad for your score, even if you’re a robot.
- Cascade Good?: Whether an additional cascaded/skyfall combo is beneficial for your score. This type of combo takes longer because there is an additional orb “drop” animation.
- Combo-Time Diff: The amount of points you get per additional match subtracted by the points lost due to time wasted by game animations. This tells you how beneficial it is to make an additional match. Assumes it’s not cascaded/skyfall.
- Seconds / Combo: The amount of time on average you have to move orbs per match and break even in points.
- Combo / 4 Sec.: The equivalent number of combos you have to make in 4 seconds — the base movement time — with the given the Seconds / Combo. This is here just to give you an idea how fast you have to be for the given time requirement.
In short, as the number of floors is decreased, each match rewards more points. As the scoring per match improves, this effectively raises the time allowed to make a match and still have it be beneficial. At five floors, you have about a second to make an additional match and have it reflect positively in your score which is well within the reach of an average player. That isn’t to say that speed is irrelevant in this dungeon; far from it. It’s just that more players can improve their scores by doing what seems intuitive: making more combos.
However, the blade cuts both ways. This also means skyfall combos are that much more valuable, meaning RNG will play an even bigger role in determining the top scores. For most players it shouldn’t make too much of a difference, though.
On top of having a five-floor dungeon, there’s a no actives constraint which will also strongly influence team choice and composition. Similar to how no awakenings killed match-five teams like Yomi Dragon, no actives effectively kills active-reliant leader skills like the Egyptian 1s (not to say that they can’t be used, just that they won’t be as good). Teams that rely on orb changers to consistently hit high damage are caught in the collateral. For example, Shiva Dragon is more than capable of putting up a good score, but without orb changers the consistency won’t be there and the maximum damage points are basically forfeit.
Taking both constraints into consideration, it appears that high combo teams are the best fit for the dungeon. Leaders that can rely on plain three-orb matches will have a slight edge on those that rely on TPAs and match-fives since they can fit more combos on-board. Two leaders stand out, Ra Dragon and Light Anubis (for easier activation), but any combo-based god that isn’t reliant on actives is a good choice (Shiva, Sakuya, etc). This appears to be reflected in the JP top 10:
As for speed, you’ll still need to be skilled to break into the very top positions — points are points, after all — it’s just that Takeminakata has a reduced emphasis on it.
Dungeon at a Glance
|Floor||Monster||Types||HP / DEF||Notes|
|1||117,527 / 84|
|117,527 / 84|
|92,110 / 84|
|2||323,275 / 0|
|3||1,686,714 / 0||50% wood resistance. Preemptive turns a random orb type into jammers.|
|4||1,341,526 / 3,690||99% gravity.|
|5||3,352,457 / 396||The most pointless status shield ever: it only wastes people’s time!|
There’s really not much to say about this dungeon outside what has already been covered. The remaining points I see are:
- There are no gimmick floors – At least not on the level of the PreDras. You won’t have to warp your team around that-one-floor.
- Jammers – The preemptive jammers on floor three will definitely hinder Ra Dragon and other rainbow teams, but it isn’t much of a problem for Anubis. He can clear the floor with subattributes in the case that dark gets changed, but Ra Dragon will have a harder time clearing with only 9x.
No actives opens the door for less mainstream sub choices. Outside leader skill requirements and base stats there are a couple points you may want to address.
Time extends are desirable on your subs–to a point. The limit depends on how skilled you are, but after a certain point time extends won’t do anything for you and may actually be detrimental if you’re not disciplined enough to drop your orb when you should. A player that averages one second per match will need about eight seconds to completely solve any given board. This means any time extends beyond the eighth will go to waste and take up slots that could otherwise be used for offense or utility. Here’s the PDX page for time extend cards.
For those going with Ra Dragon or a similar rainbow lead, it may be worthwhile to bring some jammer resist subs to address the third floor. Reaching 100% isn’t a requirement, but any amount will raise run consistency (like how blind resists did for the Izanami Tournament). Droidragon is an interesting choice since it covers two of the more difficult elements for rainbow teams in addition to its 60% jammer resistance. On a Sakuya team, that’s 100% jammer resistance. Here’s the PDX page for jammer cards.
Thank you to the readers that brought this up as I completely overlooked it. The killer awakenings should be considered when trying to boost your maximum damage score. Dragon and God Killers are relevant for this dungeon, but NA has a very limited selection. The recent JP 4th Anniversary awakening buffs contain the bulk of the monsters that have them, but we probably won’t get them in time for this ranking dungeon. However, don’t forget the Constellation 2 pantheon was recently added to the REM:
Their lack of skill boosts and mostly unimpressive active skills don’t hurt them in this dungeon. Denebola looks like a particularly good option as she also has two TPAs which could lead to huge numbers. The caveat is whether we’ll get a godfest with them before the ranking dungeon ends.
Light Anubis – 151,106, 0.1%
There are many Light Anubis runs on YouTube, but this was the first run I ran into that broke the 150k mark. There’s nothing much to say about the sub selection; your best dark things with time extends should suffice.
Ra Dragon – 146,680 0.1%
Similarly, there are plenty of Ra Dragon videos. This player uses Sakuya and Liu Bei to help combat the jammers on floor three.
Shiva Dragon – 137,358, 2.4%
Our old friend Shiva Dragon can still perform well even if the dungeon conditions aren’t optimal. What stands out the most in this video are the LKali subs. While straying from the single-element formula will hurt your maximum damage score, it does make clears more consistent. Since you can’t rely on orb changers to mitigate RNG, this may be a good alternative solution.
DIza-Kite – 141,372, 0.5%
A bizarre pairing that I had to highlight. Since Shiva Dragon isn’t an optimal choice, it follows that DIza isn’t either, but you can still grind something out if you get creative.
Shiva – 142,554, 0.3%
Shiva’s damage leaves something to be desired, but points from maximum damage pale in comparison to those from average combo which Shiva facilitates well with his two time extends. This is a good demonstration of a widely-used leader also being good in the ranking dungeons.
Sakuya – 147,324 0.1%
Sakuya may very well be the best option out of the awoken gods.
I never liked Volsung, but here he is performing well.
Hysferzen-Vegito 139,158 1.9%
I’m going to stop here with farmable leaders — there are plenty of those on YouTube — but they’re still perfectly good for this ranking dungeon. For this particular team, four out of five cards are farmable. Vegito obviously isn’t an option for NA, but hopefully this can serve as inspiration for those that don’t have ideal teams.
There’s quite a few other clear videos, here’s the YouTube search link if you’re interested in looking yourself.
Takeminakata definitely has the feeling of a more fair ranking dungeon. Shifting the scoring emphasis to combo count and eliminating overpowered REM actives from the picture does much to facilitate that perception, but in the end it’s unclear if the playing field is more level or not due to the increased weight of skyfall combos and the usual bias toward pay-to-win players still in effect. At the very least, being encouraged to both combo faster and larger — as opposed to faster and smaller in Noah — should resonate more with the player base.
I’ve had to resort to the Shiva Dragon speed strategy in the past to get into the top 1%. While keeping your combo count low seems counterintuitive to some, I felt that the game play was still intriguing because there were still many opportunities to min-max your score. However, I’m excited to see how this dungeon plays out even though I already foresee countless dungeon resets due to not hitting my Anubis activations.