Puzzle and Dragon looks so simple, doesnt it? You download it expecting just another Bejeweled knockoff, and what did you get? Oh, nothing much. Just the meanest, leanest, most fiendish game on the entire mobile market. Combining equal parts Puzzle Quest and Pokemon, GungHo somehow crafted one of the deepest, most complicated games youre likely to find on mobile.
Puzzle and Dragon (PaD) is free-to-play, but that hasnt stopped GungHo from raking in more than $2 million USD each and every day. While it never puts up the hard roadblocks youll find in Candy Crush Saga, nor relies on the clock-blocking timers of Dungeon Keeper, Puzzle and Dragon will try its best to extract your money from your wallet. Want to solve the puzzles without spending a dragons hoard? Keep on reading.
The Magic in the Stone
Every F2P game has its own special currency, and PaD is no exception. In this case, the special currency comes in the form of magic stones. You can buy them for $1 (0.69) apiece, but at the start of the game, magic stones are relatively easy to come by, since you get one every time you complete a dungeon. Youll also get a few every month as a gift from GungHo, but dont count on these.
These rainbow-striped rocks have a few different uses, but the two most important are 1) currency for the rare egg machine and 2) used to buy space for monster storage. As tempting as it is to spend your magic stones on the chance at a ultra-rare new creature, youre better off buying storage space in your monster box. Youre going to need the space if you want to keep your creature evolution and feeder programs running at peak efficiency.
If youre looking to get into PaD for the long haul, you need to make sure youre off to a good start. To do that, you need to make sure that you get some rare, powerful monsters very early in the game. Fortunately, PaD is kind enough to give you a free pull of the rare-egg machine! Unfortunately, not all monsters are created equal. If you want a great start, youre probably going to have to re-roll your first rare monster until you get the best of the best.
To re-roll, youll have to uninstall and then reinstall the app on your phone. Yes, its a huge pain in the butt. Yes, youll have to redo the tutorial. But this initial pull at the rare egg machine is very important if you want to smooth out PnDs difficulty curve. Monsters to look out for are Gods like Ra, Horus, Artemis, Kirin, or Thor. The list of good monsters is too long to cover here, so for a full breakdown of the desirables, check PaD fan communities like reddit--theyll help you out.
Can we be PALs?
Though it wont give you any ultra rare monsters, youll still need to be familiar with the PAL egg machine. Why? Two reasons. First, its the most reliable way to get certain useful monsters, called Ripper Dragons. These colorful creatures are extremely useful in the late game for their ability to resist elemental damage. Youll also need PAL eggs to keep up a solid feeder program, if youre planning on quickly powering up and evolving your creatures. Theres a catch, though: if you want a pull at the PAL egg machine, youre going to need a lot of PAL points.
How do you get PAL points? From your pals, of course! Every time you enter a dungeon, youre allowed to take some other players leader along for the ride. Not only will these helper monsters aid your dungeon crawl, but theyll award you 5 PAL points when you emerge victorious. Heres the catch: youll get 10 points if that player was your friend, so if you find a particularly useful helper monster, be sure to send its owner a friend request. Theyll probably accept, giving you more more PAL points and reliable access to the helpers unique helper skill. These skills, which run from damage prevention to HP boosting and everything between, are incredibly useful, so go out there and make some friends!
Proper use of Stamina
Stamina is Puzzle and Dragons most obnoxious play-limiting mechanic. Entering a dungeon costs Stamina--if you cant pay the fee, you arent getting in. More challenging dungeons will usually have a higher stamina requirement for entry, but youll also receive more stamina as your account ranks up. If you do run out, youve got a choice: wait for your stamina to replenish (one point every 10 minutes) or pay a Magic Stone to instantly refill your stamina meter. Of course, youve got better things to do with your Magic Stones, dont you? How can you maximize your return on stamina? With a little foreplanning.
One trick is to use stamina on the fly. If youre planning on a prolonged play session or on running a particularly expensive dungeon heres an easy trick: enter a dungeon right before you go to bed or work. You dont have to play the dungeon, just enter it. Your stamina will replenish itself while youre at work or sleeping. Using this trick instead of simply waiting until you get home essentially gives you a free try at the dungeon, since your stamina reserves have already refilled. Ranking up your account also refill your stamina meter, so some careful EXP management can help you get a longer play session.
Even if you dont actively farm for monsters, your monster box is going to fill up fairly quickly. As you progress in the game, you will find that many of the monsters youve collected are too weak to justify the space needed to keep them. Space is limited, and youll need to make decisions about what monsters are worth keeping. You might be tempted to sell them, but be sure they arent one of the following useful monsters:
Ripper Dragons: Elemental dragons that reduce the amount of damage you take from attacks of the same element. ex: Lil Red Dragon
Pengdra: these cute little guys are good for one thing, and one thing only: monster food. Pengdra give a ton of exp when fed to a monster through power-up fusion.
Gem Converters: Monster with the ability to convert gems of color A to gems of color B are invaluable in team building
Gods: I mean, theyre gods, for goodness sake. Of course you want to keep them!
No matter how good your team is, it wont succeed without proper leadership. Team-building usually begins with selecting a leader, which will give your whole party some ability or boosts. Only the skill of the chosen leader will affect the game, so choose wisely. Leader skills can generally be listed into a few different categories. You can chose which powers you want to use, but its remember to chose a leader that suits your party!
Attack Buff: increases attack for monsters of a given element, type, or in response to combo chains.
Damage reduction: Reduce incoming damage of a given element, or in response to players health falling below certain thresholds.
Health regeneration: Replenishes HP a certain amount each turn.
Damage: Deals a certain amount of damage to an enemy each turn.
Team Building 1: Monocolor
The most basic teams are usually monocolor affairs. These require a bit of skill to run, since only matching gems of the appropriate color will deal any damage--if you have a red team, youd better work to match red gems as often as you can. A basic build would look something like this:
Damage booster (leader): The leadership position should go to a monster with an elemental booster. The attack boost will increase the amount of damage your whole team puts out.
Gem converters: Youll almost certainly want one or two gem converters, since your team is so dependent on a matching a given color to deal damage.
High attack monsters: the monocolor build is all about damage output, so youll want to fill out the rest of your team with high-attack monsters. Ripper dragons are useful here.
Team Building 2: 6.25x damage
6.25x damage teams are based on the principle of dealing massively powerful alpha strikes. To deal so much damage, these teams rely on selecting Leaders and Helpers that both provide a 2.5x damage boost to monsters of a certain type. These boosts combined to grant a total of 6.25x damage. Because 6.25x damage teams rely on monster type, you shouldnt expect the team to be monocolor, giving them more flexibility than your standard monocolor team. The standard 6.25x damage team, called the ADK, looks something like this:
Leader / Helper: Ancient Dragon Knight--the monster which gives this build its name, Ancient Dragon Knights provide a 2.5x damage boost to all dragons. Can change blue gems to green gems.
Dragons: You can use any color, but its advisable to use green or black dragons, to take advantage of the ADKs gem-changing ability
Puzzle and Dragon didnt get to be so popular without a good reason: beneath the cute art and colorful puzzles is a remarkably deep game. The tips given in this guide are a mere fraction of the amount of help youll need it you want to get the most out of Puzzle and Dragons. Fortunately, the community has your back.
As with Clash of Clans (or any other popular, complex game) the internet is full of fantastic resources for the uninitiated. The Puzzle and Dragons subreddit is full of helpful players and useful guides. PDX is essentially a pokedex for Puzzle and Dragon, giving you invaluable info on the monsters you own or need to collect. PADherder is another useful tool that helps you manage your collection of monsters. Proper use of these tools will help you keep track of the truly mind-deforming complexity Puzzle and Dragon throws at you.
You probably wont ever catch em all in Puzzle and Dragon, but thats no reason you cant have a lot of fun! If (when) you hit a dungeon you just cant beat, remember that Puzzle and Dragon is trying to slow you down--if it can put enough walls in your way, youll break down and purchase magic stones. Keep trying, and eventually youll break through!