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 end of the month has brought along another Gala banner for players to summon for. And like the previous choices for Gala, the new dragon is certainly a surprise pick to many not only due to the story circumstances, but the element in which it belongs to. Outside of the Gala dragon, a new adventurer joins the game, which rounds out the elemental options for close range manacasters in the game, as well as the humanoid versions of the Greatwyrms. Let’s see how they stand against the competition.
As the final Greatwyrm to have yet received a humanoid adventurer form in the game, the Shadowyrm Zodiark joins the fray to help the Prince and his allies in the battles to come. Humanoid Zodiark enters the game as the first close range shadow manacaster adventurer, a weapon archetype which really hasn’t seen significant relevance in the game’s meta outside of Dragonyule Ilia. Thanks to a combination of her cartridge buffs, as well as the skill prep that the dragon Gala Mars can provide, and Gala Leonidas’s chain co-ability combo = shapeshift prep, Dragonyule Ilia is able to chain respectable strength and critical rate buffs throughout a fight. The significant area of effect of her first skill also ensured she had the ability to clear a wide area of additional enemy spawns on the battlefield, which made her incredibly useful for the Legend Jaldabaoth fight. Hopefully then for Zodiark’s sake that this wasn’t a one-time fluke, and that they have got the design philosophy of close range manacasters in a good state.
Like all the other humanoid Greatwyrm’s before him, Zodiark exclusively shapeshifts into his normal form upon first transformation, and then his High Dragon form on his second shapeshift onward, tied to his fist passive ability Shadowwyrm’s Nature. Besides allowing him to shift into a more powerful version of the typical Zodiark dragon line compared to the usual in-game versions, this passive ability also allows Humanoid Zodiark to generate a strength amp upon use of their first or second skill (maximum team amp level of 1). Outside of this, this nature also reduces susceptibility to the curse affliction by 100%, and finally increases damage to enemies inflicted with Spite by 15%.
What is Spite you may be asking? Well, Spite is a unique debuff that Humanoid Zodiark has the capabilities of applying utilising his first skill Hatecluster. This skill, at an SP cost of 4,329, will grant Humanoid Zodiark 3 stacks of the ‘Malevolent Rush’ effect, which provides him with an additional third attack for the usual standard attack combo of close range manacasters. When this attack is used, it will consume one stack of Malevolent Rush, dispel one buff from an enemy, and apply spite if the damage is dealt directly next to an enemy. Note that only a maximum of 3 stacks of Malevolent Rush can be held at any time. The Spite debuff has 5 levels in total and will level up by 1 if Spite is already applied on the enemy, and the Spite debuff is applied successfully again. Conversely, the Spite debuff has a set time for the effect to last, so it will be lowered by 1 level if the remaining time is depleted. The total time for this debuff to last at each level is as follows:
- Level 1, 2 and 3: Lasts 10 seconds respectively
- Level 4: Lasts 15 seconds
- Level 5: Lasts 20 seconds
Building up to the maximum level of Spite is important, as it ties to the power output of his second skill Death’s Torrent. At an SP cost of 9,072, this skill will deal 1 hit of 1,500% damage to surrounding enemies and inflict Shadowblight. It will also deal bonus damage equal to the current level of Spite applied to the enemy and has the bonus of ignoring the in-built defence modifier of the enemy. Against most endgame bosses, it will deal slightly more than the advertised modifier, which is as follows:
- Spite Level 1: 1 hit of 300% damage
- Spite Level 2: 1 hit of 600% damage
- Spite Level 3: 1 hit of 900% damage
- Spite Level 4: 1 hit of 1,200% damage
- Spite Level 5: 1 hit of 1,500% damage
To round off the rest of his adventurer kit, Humanoid Zodiark’s second passive ability Spectral Counter. Whenever Humanoid Zodiark takes damage, this will fill his dragon gauge by 10% and, if they have shapeshifted at least once, create a Spectral Flame where this damage incurred. The Spectral Flame will detonate after three seconds, dealing 1 hit of 2,500% damage to surrounding enemies and applying ‘Spite’ to them. Both effects will not activate again after 15 seconds. Finally, like the other adventurer Greatwyrm’s, Humanoid Zodiark comes with a unique chain co-ability, in which the controlled adventurer is granted 100% resistance to the blindness affliction whenever a team strength amp is active.
Ultimately, like all other close range manacasters released previously, Humanoid Zodiark’s meta relevance will come down to whether he can balance strong standard attacks with good skill damage. Thankfully, he manages to do this thanks to an incredibly potent second skill, whose SP cost is reasonable for a close-range manacaster, and his strong standard attacks, thanks to his free 15% damage bonus from enemies inflicted with Spite, as well as his unique third standard attack. Humanoid Zodiark also boasts excellent team utility to boot in combination with his respectable damage output. This comes from his easy dispelling ability due to his Malevolent Rush buff, which is easy enough to replenish whenever this buff runs out, and his respectably strength amp output, which only restriction is how often you utilise his first and second skill. In a group where an adventurer has team strength amp 3 capabilities, he would not have too many issues levelling up and trying to maintain this maximum level.
To top it all off, his Spectral Counter passive ability is a lot better in gameplay then it sounds, as most bosses nowadays will deal unavoidable damage to Humanoid Zodiark, apply corrosion, or have other capabilities where he can safely position himself to induce damage. There are also available skill share options which can self-inflict damage on the user, which makes his means of filling his dragon gauge a lot faster. If there was any innate weakness that Humanoid Zodiark may have for future endgame content, it could be his overall lack of affliction output, which may be turn out to be quite important for success in the Legend Surtr fight in the upcoming months. However, considering how well Humanoid Zodiark already performs in the available endgame content for the shadow-element, I would recommend summoning for him if you would like a strong damage adventurer to boost your shadow-element team, or are lacking in options to complete this content.
As we have seen with other close-range manacasters, co-abilities which prioritise boosting the damage output of a close range manacasters standard attack will ultimately prove the most useful in further enhancing his combat capabilities. Even though the shadow-element is still missing its standard attack co-ability, the strength and critical rate co-abilities found on blade and dagger adventurers would serve as a good basis. I would recommend the adventurer’s Ieyasu and Summer Prince, who bring along the dragon haste chain co-ability, which will increase the amount of dragon gauge Human Zodiark gains during the fight. Outside of these two choices, your next best bet is a choice of either the skill damage co-ability found on wand adventurers, or the Agility Boost co-ability found on the adventurer Joker, which boosts his attack rate by 7%. Either choice comes down to whether you wish to further boost his skill damage output or boost his standard attack output.
For wyrmprints, assuming the shadowblight and poison afflictions are available, not considering portrait wyrmprints, and the state of the enemy being normal, the following setup serves as a good basis to further customise your damage build for Humanoid Zodiark:
- A Man Unchanging (Poison Punisher +30%)
- Emissaries of the Heavens (or equivalent +20% Flurry Strength 5-star wyrmprint)
- Welcome to the Opera! (+25% Shadowblight Punisher)
- Enter the Blue Rose! (+12% Critical Rate (Manacasters))
- A Small Courage (+20% Skill Damage)
- Any +20% Skill Damage Rise of the Sinister Dominion Wyrmprint
- Savage Hawk (Lance’s Boon) (Sword Psalm III)
For dragons, while the obvious choice on paper may seem to be Bahamut, thanks to his significant 120% strength passive increase to the equipped adventurer but comes with the significant drawback of requiring double to amount of dragon gauge to shapeshift. This overall opens the door up to Gala Reborn Nidhogg, who does provide a weaker accumulative strength passive, but at half of the amount of dragon gauge, would allow Humanoid Zodiark to unleash his enhanced dragon form more often in the fight. As such, the decision of best in slot dragon comes down to how often you can shapeshift into his dragon form. For permanent dragons, the recently fifth unbound Epimetheus, if the poison affliction is available, would prove to be the best options for players without limited dragons available, as it provides a 55% strength increase, a 20% poison punisher effect, and a 30% Surge of Strength buff for the first 180 seconds of the fight.
Custodian of the World
As one of the most titular and story-relevant dragons in Dragalia Lost’s lifetime, the Holywyrm Gala Elysium enters the game, hoping to bring his might and wrath to those who would bring order to the world. The most surprising aspect of his introduction into the game is that we only recently just received another light-attuned Gala dragon, that of Gala Chronos Nyx. If you have been around anytime for the last 4 months of the game’s lifecycle, you would know that Gala Chronos Nyx has been such a significant meta-defining and power increases for light adventurers tackling endgame content. Most of Gala Chronos Nyx’s power comes from his ridiculously strong dragon form, which has an incredibly potent dragon strike, skill, and lasts a significant amount of time depending on which actions are taken. It's going to be a tough act to follow then if Gala Elysium will become an alternative staple to light endgame content or not.
Let’s start with the most interesting aspect of the offering’s he provides to the equipped light adventurer: Holywyrm’s Grace. This passive ability increases the strength, defence, and HP of an adventurer by 60%, 30% and 30% respectively, and provides additional benefits based on the user’s unit type:
- Attack: Increases strength by 30%
- Defence: Increases strength, defence, and HP by 15%
- Support: Increases skill gauge fill rate by 30%
- Healing: Increases HP by 30% and skill gauge fill rat by 15%
His second unique passive ability meanwhile, Holywyrm’s Judgment, fills the adventurer’s dragon gauge by 50% at the start of quests, and extends the shapeshift time by 100%. This comes with the trade off though that the adventurer will have to use double the amount of dragon energy to shapeshift, like Bahamut’s requisite to shapeshift. Like Bahamut’s dragon gauge fill rate condition, this 50% standard fill cannot be further boosted at the start of quests with other dragon prep abilities. Finally, this passive grants the user a dragon strike while shapeshifted as Elysium, which will deal 1 hit of 3,510% damage to enemies directly ahead.
Unlike most recently released dragon’s, Gala Elysium’s dragons’ skill does not deal any damage if used. Instead, his skill Holy Bastion will reduce damage taken by the entire team by 50% for 30 seconds, grant them a one-use divergent shield that nullifies damage less than 50% of the maximum user’s HP, grant a team defence amp and a team critical damage amp (both have a maximum team amp level of 3). To compensate for this, Gala Elysium possesses incredibly potent standard attack that can inflict respectable damage to oncoming foes.
The question then is if Gala Elysium has a situation or circumstance that makes him outright better to use over Gala Chronos Nyx? The answer to that for most of the cast is no. To begin, if you love utilising offensive character’s categorised in the support or defence categories, you are already posing a significant penalty to you damage thanks to the lacklustre strength passive ability that Gala Elysium grants. Even for units classified as an attack type though, Gala Elysium only provides a 90% strength passive increase, which currently is a bit underwhelming for a limited time summonable unit. While certainly Gala Elysium does possess a strong dragon form and some nice supportive abilities, it ultimately just provides further means of surviving incoming damage and saving the player from maybe one or two attacks that would have one shot. When the meta for endgame content is to deal as much damage as possible while meeting mechanical checks and dodging incoming projectiles, this just won’t feel impactful in these times. Ultimately, Gala Elysium is a great all rounder for new players beginning their journey in Dragalia Lost but is a master of none for the different roles he can improve.
If there was two caveats’ for getting Gala Elysium, it would be for players that enjoy using Gala Zena and, to a lesser extent, Isaac, and his innate dragon prep. Gala Elysium benefits from the Attack passive upgrade, as well as the base passive boosts, meaning that she accumulatively gets a 120% strength increases due to the conversion of the base 30% HP boost into strength thanks to her passive abilities. Isaac meanwhile can get the benefits of having great skill haste to output his buff zones, while still having a respectable amount of strength to contribute somewhat to the team’s damage output. In a solo environment, his innate dragon prep may also allow another adventurer to shapeshift into a cheaper cost dragon at the start of the fight, which may allow for better damage performance in a fight overall. Outside of these two scenarios, and for new players or players lacking solid choices for dragons for their light-element solo teams, if you already possess Gala Chronos Nyx, I recommend skipping Gala Elysium, as he doesn’t over any damage improvements to what Gala Chronos Nyx already offers.
On summoning rates and wyrmsigils
- A Gala banner has a boosted chance of summoning any 5-star adventurer or dragon featured in the summoning pool from 4% to 6%.
- The adventurer Humanoid Zodiark is at a boosted focus rate of 0.5%, while Gala Elysium is at a boosted focus rate of 0.8%.
- Gala Elysium is limited to feature on Gala banners in the future, while Humanoid Zodiark will be added to the permanent summoning pool.
- Outside of these two, the adventurer Gala Zethia, as well as the dragons Gala Reborn Jeanne and Gala Reborn Nidhogg are sparkable on the banner.
Final Verdict: If you love amps, grab Humanoid Zodiark, otherwise skip.
Humanoid Zodiark will undoubtedly become a solid staple for endgame content into the future, thanks in part due to a solid damage output, and a respectable strength amp output that will provide great support utility to the team. Gala Elysium meanwhile, outside of 1 or 2 adventurers, is stuck in limbo as great for all but master of none and feels more designed for use for new players just entering the game and wanting an incredibly flexible dragon to get into light-endgame content as soon as possible. With half-anniversary occurring at the end of the month though, you may wish to consider saving your current summoning resources as well, as there is a good chance that you’ll be able to spark or have a better chance of nabbing previously released Gala adventurers or dragon that you may have missed out on the first time.