Welcome to another edition of Should You Summon, a secondary opinion piece to help you decide whether you should consider pulling for the latest adventurers or dragons in Dragalia Lost. The beginning of the month has brought along another Prize Summon Showcases, which offers an additional pool of items that a players can receive on top of their usual summoned adventurer or dragon. As part of the Blood that Binds event, two scions of Alberia that have been prevalent within the story since the game’s inception finally become playable within the game. On top of them, the final Archangel to have yet been summonable within the game can finally be attained as a dragon to add to your barracks. Let us see if any of these new permanent additions take your fancy.
The Dawning Wind
Once the puppet of the Progenitor to survive his ordeal from his Wyrmscale disease, the second scion of Alberia Phares has regained his freedom to use his knowledge to ensure possibility continues to exist. Phares enters the game as the sixth 5-star wind lance adventurer, after the releases of Sylas, Kirsty, the limited Halloween Melsa, Grimnir and the limited event free character Izumo. Outside of the disappointing support utility of Halloween Melsa, and the poor damage performance of Izumo, the other lance characters have found excellent use within wind-endgame content at some point during the time. Whether it was Sylas’s survivability and poison capabilities for the Ciella’s Wrath Agito fight, the promotion of Kirsty thanks to her spiral providing dispel and greater damage capabilities, or the ad-clearing potential of Grimnir with respectable damage output, the player base have not been short of excellent options to use. Let’s see then if Phares can bring another layer of depth to this already excellent weapon-element combination.
Like the recently released Izumo, Phares is a dragondrive adventurer, in which instead of shapeshifting into the equipped dragon or unique form that an adventurer has, Phares enters a unique fighting mode when the usual shapeshift button is hit when they have access to it. This dragondrive gauge is tied to his first unique passive ability Uranus’s Blessing, which for Phares grants the following benefits whilst active
- The user’s standard attacks are changed, dealing more damage, gaining more SP, and fill the user’s dragondrive gauge if they connect.
- The user’s force strike is changed, dealing damage to multiple targets and enemies of those targets nearby, and applying the ‘Victim of Science’ debuff if an enemy is hit.
- The user’s strength is passively increased by 35%
- The user’s HP is restored with 25% recovery potency when they are hit by an attach that inflicts an affliction (100 second cooldown).
It is also important to note that, while the dragondrive gauge does deplete whilst it is active, the amount of dragondrive you gain by just attacking an enemy consistently easily compensates for this rate, meaning that Phares has no issues remaining in this mode for the duration of a fight. For Phares enter his unique dragondrive mode though, he must require at most 1,200 unique transformation points (UTP), which is approximately 40% of his dragondrive gauge.
Phares has a means though to rapidly acquire this amount via his normal second skill, Oath of Bonds. At an SP cost of 7,490, this skill will remove all afflictions from the entire team, grant them a team strength amp (maximum team amp level of 1), and fills the user’s dragondrive gauge by 1,000 UTP. This skill also will remove the ‘Fatigue’ debuff, which is tied to Phare’s second passive ability Thirst for Life. Not only does this passive ability increase his ability to resistance all afflictions by 150% during his dragondrive mode, but, once per quest whilst in this mode, Phares can nullify damage that would knock him out of the fight (excluding damage that forcibly reduces the user’s HP to zer or de-activate dragondrive) and remove all afflictions from him. Whilst this effect is active, the user will also be temporarily invulnerable to damage except for afflictions, buffs, debuffs and certain attacks. When this perk is activated though, all the user’s dragondrive gauge is consumed, and the ‘Fatigue’ debuff is applied for 60 seconds. Whilst the user has the Fatigue debuff, the user cannot fill their dragondrive gauge, nor can they activate dragondrive.
Outside of this perk, Phares first and second skills are changed and enhanced during dragondrive mode to further boost his offensive prowess. His second skill is transformed to Uranus’s Claw, which grants the entire team a team strength amp (maximum level of 1), deals 2 hits of 1,152% damage to enemies directly ahead, and extend the time remaining for the following afflictions that the enemy is currently inflicted by 15 seconds: poison, burn, paralysis, stormlash, flashburn, shadowblight and scorchrend. Note that afflictions can only be extended during the original duration of them, and that this ability to extend them to an enemy cannot activate again for 15 seconds.
Finally, Phares first skill, Wisdom Talisman, at an SP cost of 3,650, will grant all teammates a one-use shield that nullifies damage less than 50% of the user’s maximum HP, increases their water resistance by 8% for 25 seconds (does not stack), and increases their chances of inflicting affliction by 40% for 30 seconds (stacks up to 3 times). Whilst in dragondrive mode, this skill is enhanced to Punishment of Heaven, which will instead deal 2 hits of 588% damage to enemies in a line, inflict them with poison and stormlash, and additional deal 1 bonus hits of 672% damage, and dispel a buff if said target has the Victim of Science debuff on them (removed afterwards). This bonus damage can instead deal 1 bonus hit of 873.6% damage if the target is inflicted by afflictions. Finally, to note is the second perk of the Uranus’s Blessing passive ability, which will grant Phares a strength amp (maximum team strength amp level of 1) when the users inflict the enemy with an affliction (8 second cooldown).
Overall, it’s hard to deny the excellent utility and damage opportunities that he can provide not only to himself but to his teammates. Phare’s greatest boon within the wind element is his excellent strength amp output, not only thanks to his ability to apply consistent afflictions from either his first skill or skill shares that he may be rocking, but his consistent team strength amp from his second skill, which has a respectable and consistent SP cost. With a teammate who can unlock a level 3 team strength amp, Phares has no issues in sustaining that maximum level throughout the entirety of the fight, thanks to his ability to generate team strength amps from two different sources. While the wind-element may not have full appreciation of these capabilities at this point of time thanks to the excellent Gala Beast Volk, whose dragon form provide a free team strength amp when activating his skill, if we eventually get a wind dragon that is slightly better than him in terms of passives and dragon damage, while lacking the strength amp capabilities, Phares value will skyrocket.
Unlike a lot of other adventurers in the past though, who have traded respectable amp output for low damage, Phares possesses competitive enough damage capabilities to rival other adventurers in wind-endgame content, thanks to his great standard attacks, skill damage and force strike. His ability to inflict dual afflictions for the wind-element, as well as extend their time, also helps ensure affliction punisher effects have improved consistency during the fight, directly contributing to further boosting the damage output of the team. His ability to dispel buffs from an enemy can also ensure that fights can much more smoothly. Phares added benefit of surviving a knockout once during the battle is a nice bonus of survivability, which I’m sure a lot of players will appreciate during the early stages of learning any sort of mechanics when taking on a new endgame fight. When taking all these capabilities into account, I would recommend summoning for Phares if you have wyrmite to spare, as his excellent supportive utility, combined with his respectable damage output, has the potential to make him a useful pick for endgame content currently, but a potential meta pick in the future.
As Phares doesn’t have too many problems maintaining his dragondrive gauge, I wouldn’t worry too much if you are not able to slot in backline options that bring additional dragon haste via co-abilities and chain co-abilities. For a best in slot damage output approach though, Phares would greatly benefit from the wind boost, skill damage and strength co-ability options provided from the limited adventurer Mona, wand adventurers and blade adventurers respectively. For the strength co-ability choice, Yukata Lathna would be the best pick, considering she provides additional dragon haste via her chain co-ability. For those lacking Mona due to his limited availability, your next bet would be a critical rate boost found on dagger adventurer, or the combo = critical rate chain co-ability boost found on the adventurer Nino.
For wyrmprints, assuming excellent uptime on the poison and stormlash afflictions, assuming the state of the enemy is normal, and not considering portrait prints, the following setup will help best improve Phares damage output:
- A Man Unchanging (+30% Poison Punisher)
- Memory of a Friend (+20% Flurry Strength)
- Either of the +25% Stormlash Punisher 5-star wyrmprints (such as Sweet Surprise)
- A Small Courage (+20% Skill damage)
- Saint Starfall’s Circus (+12% Critical Rate (Lances)
- Any +20% Skill Damage Rise of the Sinister Dominion wyrmprint (such as Apple-licious Dreams)
- Savage Hawk (Lance’s Boon) (Sword Psalm III)
As a dragondrive adventurer, Phares wants to equip the dragon with the best damage passives granted to an adventurer. In that respect Gala Beast Volk continues to be the best choice in class for the wind element, thanks to his base 100% strength passive increases, as well as his additional +15% punisher effects individually to an enemy applied with poison and stormlash. Phares also gains additional benefits by having his ability to inflict afflictions boosted by 100% and has the added benefit of negating the affliction resistance reduction from equipping Gala Beast Volk thanks to his Thirst For Life passive ability. Next up would be the dragon Fudo Myo-o, who provides a base 70% strength increase for wind adventurer’s, and, when both uses of the Mantra of Compassion shield are used, provides an additional 10% attack rate increase, and adds 30% elemental modifier from the Mantra of Wrath Boon. Next best would be Gala Reborn Zephyr, who provides all but the attack rate boost that Fudo Myo-o provides but activating from different conditions. For permanent options, the fifth unbind of the dragon Zephyr provides the best benefits for relatively short contents. For fights which last for a longer period, you may wish to consider Midgardsormr Zero as the next best choice for damage output.
A man who needs no introduction to the playerbase, the fourth scion of Alberia Valyx, who has in the past has been an opponent for the Prince in his fight against the empire, as well as stalwart support for his sister Zethia whilst travelling with Nedrick, enters the game as a playable adventurer. He also enters the game as the sixth playable 5-star light-axe adventurer after Julietta, the limited Dragonyule Malora, Zhu Bajie, Persona Sophie, and Gala Audric. Outside of Julietta renaissance as an excellent lead for solo light endgame content since her mana spiral, this weapon has remained irrelevant until the arrival of Gala Audric, whose great damage output and dispel utility was pivotal for dealing with the Legend Tartarus fight. Let’s see then if Valyx can provide a good permanent option for an element lacking good permanent endgame options.
Due to how simple Valyx’s kit is, will start with the bread and butter of his damage output: his first and second skills. His first skill Royal Blitz, at an SP cost of 3.849, will deal a whopping 4 hits of 500% damage, and 1 hit of 600% damage to enemies ahead, whilst also inflicting paralysis and flashburn. A warning for those utilising this skill though; it has an incredibly long animation, so make sure you position him well, so he doesn’t get hit by any unavoidable attacks during the process. His second skill Lightning Rampage, at an SP cost of 6,296, will deal 3 hits of 600% damage, 1 hit of 1,700% damage, and dispel a buff from each target. His first passive ability Stalwart Warrior will make Valyx shapeshift into Thor, regardless of the dragon they have equipped. Thankfully though, it does seem that the developers have realised how weak Gala Thor’s base form is, as while Valyx’s unique Thor form deals the same amount of damage at maximum taps for his skill, Thor’s standard attack are significantly better than his usual Gala variant, with his standard being approximately 1.5x to 1.79 times higher.
This perk will also in addition grant Valyx permanent immunity to knockback during a quest, permanently energising the user (immune to Curse of Nihility), a unique force strike that draws enemies toward the user and grant them the ‘Defiant Spirit’ effect for 20 seconds whenever they take damage (5 second cooldown). It is important to note that the energised buff provides a 50% skill damage passive buff to the next skill. However, unlike how it normally behaves, in which all stacks of energy are consumed once used, Valyx will continue to be energised, meaning that he has a permanent 50% skill damage buff for the duration of a fight. The ‘Defiant Spirit’ effect meanwhile simply increases the area of effect and doubles the damage that his standard attacks dish out. Finally, this passive ability will restore 30% of damage taken during skills or attacks that are either charged or not charged, or during the transformation sequence when shapeshifting, as HP to the user.
Valyx’s second passive ability Royal Shield meanwhile allows Valyx to grant a team defence amp (maximum level of 2) and a one-use divergent shield that nullifies up to 40% of the user’s maximum HP when his HP drops to 70% (30 second cooldown). Finally, Valyx has the unique perk of possessing the ability to reduce susceptibility to two resistances, which is something that is typically reserved for Gala adventurers only.
Overall, Valyx possess a very simple but effective offensive kit, while possessing additional perks that ensure he has greater ability to survive and tank incoming tanks that he is receiving. Both of his damage skills, combined with his permanent energised state, deal massive damage to any enemy that stands in his way. His ability to grant defensive amps, shields and immunity to knockback also ensure that players have no difficulties handling him on the battlefield, and ensure he can survive in the process. This particularly excellent in autoing solo endgame content, as Valyx can act as a more effective than Julietta in your farming endeavours, as he can simply face tank everything without any issues. His ability to apply dual afflictions, as well as dispel in some capacity, will surely be useful in tackling mechanics for endgame content now and into the future.
Valyx does have a few glaring weaknesses though that, while he will remain competitive within light endgame content, may not make him the best of picks of other adventurers to choose from. His first glaring weakness is his forced shapeshift into Thor. Whilst they have fixed some of Thor’s problems by boosting his standard attacks to be more in line with today’s powerhouses, his dragon skill is still on the relative weak side, and it obviously pales in comparison to the might of Gala Chronos Nyx and even still Gala Reborn Jeanne to some extents. He also suffers from the low SP gains of the axe standard combo, which leads to Valyx not outputting his skills as much as he would like if he was wielding another weapon archetype. Even considering this though, Valyx has great damage capabilities of a permanent adventurer, and if it wasn’t for the introduction of Gala Chronos Nyx, would probably stand close to the prowess that light limited adventurers currently possess. As such, I would recommend summoning for him if you are lacking on good leads for autoing solo endgame content, or you are lacking good damage options for light endgame content in general.
For backline options, Valyx cannot go wrong with a typical damage setup of a strength, skill damage and light element boost found on blade adventurers, wand adventurers and the limited adventurer Peony for further boosting his damage capabilities. If lacking any light boost effects due to not having access to those associated light limited adventurer’s your next best bet would be wielding a critical rate boost effect found on daggers adventurers. Dagger adventurers such as Mitsuihide or Fritz who possess combo time will allow Valyx to more easily maintain any associated flurry effects that he may have equipped.
For wyrmprints, assuming excellent uptime on the paralysis and flashburn affliction, the state of the enemy being normal, and not accounting for portrait prints, the following setup will help further enhance Valyx’s damage:
- Extreme Teamwork (+25% Flashburn Punisher)
- Memory of a Friend (+20% Flurry Strength)
- Spirit of the Season (+20% Paralysis Punisher)
- A Small Courage (+20% Skill Damage)
- The Queen of the Knife (+10% Flurry Devastation)
- Any 20% Skill Damage Rise of the Sinister Dominion wyrmprint (such as Apple-licious Dreams)
- Savage Hawk (Lance Boon) (Sword Psalm III)
For dragons, as Valyx will shapeshift into Thor regardless of who is equipped, Gala Reborn Jeanne offers the best passive abilities for him. Not only does she provide a base 70% strength boost, but a further 30% elemental boost whenever the user gains 10% dragon gauge. Up next would then be Gala Chronos Nyx, who provides a base 100% strength passive ability for him. Outside of these two limited options, the dragon Cupid would most likely be an excellent third choice, as he provides a base 65% passive strength upgrade to Valyx, as well as an additional 30% Surge of Strength buff (immune to Curse of Nihility) for the first 3 minutes of a fight.
Angel of Lost Souls
To round off this latest unit batch, the developers have finally released the dragon Michael, who is the remaining Archangel to have yet entered the game. Considering that the passive abilities of these Archangel dragons usually play off from their associated adventurers, it is not surprising that Michael has familiar mechanics to the adventurer Basileus. While there is no doubt he won’t match the prowess of limited dragons, let us see if he still has his uses as being a solid permanent dragon to at least consider for your backline AI adventurers.
To begin with, Michael provides at base a 60% strength passive increase to the equipped wind adventurer, and further provides them the second passive ability Michael’s Favor. This ability extends the window for the combo counter to be reset by 2.5 seconds and increases the user’s strength by 3% per 15-hit combo (maximum stacks of 10 times, removed when combo counter resets). This perk also grants wind-attuned adventurers in the team overdamage based on 20% of the user’s strength for the first 60 seconds of a quest and will reapply this effect if the combo count resets.
Whilst in dragon form, this perk grants Michael a combat zone while will provide two combat styles: close quarters or ranged. If an enemy is within this combat zone, Michael will enter close quarters combat, otherwise he will remain in ranged combo otherwise. Like the adventurer Basileus, close quarters combat allows Michael to apply more damage to the enemy, with ranged combat having greater hit-count. This is also reflected with his dragon skill Angelic Storm. In close-quarters combat, this skill will deal 2 hits of 1,478% damage, inflict poison, and grant the entire team a team defence amp (maximum level of 2). In ranged mode, this skill will deal 7 hits of 170% damage, and 4hits of 265% damage to the target and nearby enemies, inflict stormlash, and grant overdamage based on 40% of the user’s strength for 180 seconds (does not stack).
Overall, Michael possesses a kit that provides quality of life benefits to easily maintain and attain a high combo count, while providing further strength passives to the user. Michael also possesses a respectively dragon form, with excellent modifiers that put him close to the prowess that Midgardsormr Zero can provide if the user is controlling him. There is also useful utility in the form of his overdamage buffs to teammates under certain conditions. Ultimately, Michael is a well-rounded dragon, and while he won’t meet the prowess of Galas, he is an excellent back line option for AI adventurers if you are lacking good dragons to complete solo contents. As such, I would treat Michael as an additional prize dragon that you are able to attain but would not advise rushing to get him unless you are desperate to enter endgame content as soon as possible and lack any other good options.
On summoning rates and wyrmsigils
- A Prize Summon Showcase has a typical 5-star summoning rate of 4% but provides an additional prize for each summon performed. Check the in-game notifications as to the types of rewards on offer for you to claim.
- The adventurers Phares and Valyx are at a focus summon rate of 0.5% respectively, while the dragon Michael is at focus rate of 0.8%.
- Besides these three units, the dragon Raphael is the only other sparkable unit from the banner.
Final Verdict: Summon for flexibility
Both scions provide greater flexibility for their respective elements to build elemental teams around. Whether it is the amazing affliction and amping ability of Phares, or the hybrid of tanking and damage that Valyx can perform, these two units are excellent choices to take into endgame content. While both may not be necessities to use, you can’t go wrong in considering bring one of them along. Particularly Phares, whose long-term viability will probably get better if Gala Beast Volk becomes redundant. The dragon Michael, while solid in performance, is another permanent addition that will be meaningless to get for most of the player base if you already possess limited options.