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Welcome to another edition of Should You Summon, a secondary opinion piece to assist you with your decision to summon for the latest units or not. The 3rd anniversary of the game has finally arrived, and with it has brought a gala banner featuring not one but two brand new units to summon for. The first is a unit that many players have long-awaited to add to their roster, though not in the appearance most expected. The second is another rendition of a dragon who has a long history of being prominent in many JRPG franchises to date. Whether you are a new or returning player, or a regular of the game, it is always important to note that gala banners exhibit boosted 5-star summoning base rate of 6%, compared to the normal 4%. However, while the chance of summoning any 5-star in the permanent pool is boost, the usual focus rates of a featured adventurer (0.5%) or dragon (0.8%) will still apply. Now, onto the analysis.
Auspex of Genesis
After 3 years of the game’s existence, Zethia finally becomes a summonable adventurer, though wielding half of the power she recently gained from her pact with the Wyrm of Genesis, Bahamut. She enters the game wielding a blade within the shadow element, a combination which does not see significant dominance within the element’s endgame content. The exception is the unit Natalie, whose enmity capabilities and ability to cleanse debuffs allows her to setup incredibly fast clears of Rise of the Sinister Dominion content. As such, she certainly has been given the room to make her presence known within the shadow element if she comes with the right tools to dish out the pain to her foes.
We will start with the simplest component of her kit: her one (and only) skill Genesis Circlet. This skill will deal 5 hits of 394% damage to surrounding enemies, provide immunity to attacks which cannot be dodged using the immunity frames of a skill, and reduce damage taken by 30%. This skill will automatically fill during combat, but it’s time to cast will increase up to two times during a quest upon use. In simple terminology, this skill can first be cast after 10 seconds, the second after 14 seconds, and subsequent uses 29 seconds apart. Considering how long it takes for this skill to fill, this skill only serves to keep up damage during situations which could break her combo chain, such as moving her out of unavoidable attacks.
Her main source of damage is through her unique standard attack combo chain, which is delivered across nine attacks. This standard attack combo chain provides benefits to her two main passive abilities: Genesis Pactbearer and Providential Blade. Genesis Pactbearer changes Gala Zethia’s shapeshift gauge into a unique summon gauge, which allows her to summon Bahamut to fight alongside her by tapping the summon button when the user has the minimum amount of unique transformation points (40% of gauge). She gains these points naturally by dealing damage to her enemies or through the third (2%), fifth (3%), seventh (3%), eighth (3%) and ninth (3.33%) attacks of her standard attack combo chain while Gala Bahamut is not summoned.
When Bahamut is summoned, certain standard attacks of Gala Zethia will be further empowered, and Bahamut will attack automatically, utilising the same attack modifiers and standard attacks that the dragon Gala Bahamut has. Gala Zethia will also receive a 40% damage reduction bonus while the summoned Bahamut is on the battlefield. If Bahamut is can perform 4 standard attack combo chains during his summoning, he will utilise his empowered Cataclysm Beam, which deals 9 hits of 524% damage to the target and nearby enemies and grant the entire team a team strength amp (maximum level of 1) and a team defence amp (maximum level of 1). Do note though that, while summoned, Gala Zethia’s gauge will consume 2.5% per second. As such, to get the most effectiveness out of Bahamut it is wise to only activate the summon gauge when you have approximately 80% of the gauge to guarantee the use of his skill. Once his skill is performed, you should then deactivate Bahamut and begin building up the gauge again to unleash his prowess once more.
It is important to note though that the Bahamut summoned by Gala Zethia does not receive the benefits of wyrmprints or facilities which provide additional damage to dragons while shapeshifted, buffs after completing a shapeshift, or affinity bonuses. The only dragon related benefits that Gala Zethia can receive is affects which provide Shapeshift Prep at the start of the quest, or Dragon Haste abilities which increase the amount of dragon gauge she receives.
Besides the unique Bahamut summon mechanic, Genesis Pactbearer also provides benefits to Gala Zethia in relation to her performing dodges or avoiding attacks. To start with, this passive provides Gala Zethia the ability to carry out an additional attack while dodging during a standard attack. Further, if she then performs a standard attack while carrying out the unique dodge, this allows Gala Zethia to resume her standard attack combo from her most recent attack. This benefit ties into her second passive ability Providential Blade, which grants Gala Zethia a critical damage amp on her fifth and ninth standard attack combo (maximum team amp level of 1).
The final boon of the Genesis Pactbearer ability grants Gala Zethia the ability to counterattack an attack which is dodgeable using the invulnerability frames of a roll. While the damage of these unique dodges isn’t particularly significant, her ability to continue maintaining combo is a nice boon to have.
Critical damage amps are a new type of amp introduced into the game, which provide a buff that is immune to the Curse of Nihility debuff to the damage modifier of a critical hit. Like strength and defence amps, the method of levelling a critical damage amp is identical.
- When the user has no self-amps, they will receive a level 1 version of the amp.
- Receiving another self-amp while one is already active will level it up to 2.
- Receiving a further self-amp will transform it into a team amp, which will either be level 1 in the presence of no other team amp of the same type, or either upgrade or extend the duration of the current team amp depending on the highest maximum team level of the entire unit lineup.
The benefits of an individual and team critical damage amp is as follows:
- Individual Level 1: 3% increase to the user’s critical damage modifier for 60 seconds.
- Individual Level 2: 5% increase to the user’s critical damage modifier for 60 seconds.
- Team Level 1: 20% increase to the entire team’s critical damage modifier for 30 seconds.
And that is Gala Zethia’s adventurer kit explained. It’s a lot, isn’t it? Thankfully, it can be simply summarised as a kit which promotes her to have some of the best damage capabilities within the shadow element by a respectable margin. However, there are some caveats to getting the most out of her performance that you should be aware of. Being a pure damage machine, Gala Zethia does not boast impressive team utility besides the amps that she creates from her standard attacks and summoned Bahamut. As such, she will need units with poison or shadowblight afflictions if you wish to take advantage of punisher effects available on certain wyrmprints. Additionally, her lack of utility to remove buffs using a dispel effect can make completing fights, such as Legend Kai Yan, a hindrance if supporting units do not have innate dispel capabilities.
Another negative is her unavailability of good damage options to use during a break state, such as utilising a dragon skill or having skills with high modifiers to rapidly use. While it doesn’t take much away from her excellent consistent damage capabilities, it does mean that rapidly clearing fights with strategies that take advantage of a broken state of an enemy will probably be unavailable. You could try to align the summoned Bahamut’s skill to the broken state of the enemy, but this would require extensive practice of knowing specific break timings of a fight to make the most out of it. Even with these cons though, Gala Zethia will most likely become a solid staple in shadow teams due to her incredible damage output. For this reason, I would recommend summoning for her if your shadow teams lack damage output.
For co-abilities, I would recommend options which either provide more dragon haste to quickly resummon Bahamut, or ones which directly boost her damage output. Options for on-elemnt include critical rate, found on dagger adventurers, dragon haste, found on sword adventurers, and agility boost, found on the adventurer Joker. If you were unable to summon the adventurer Joker during the collaborative window of his banner, the next best option would be skill damage, found on wand adventurers, to capitalise on Bahamut’s Cataclysm Beam. If a standard attack co-ability is ever released for the shadow element, it would also be an excellent option for Gala Zethia to capitalise on her standard attack combo strings. For specific co-ability options, the adventurers Summer Euden and Audric would be advised as the dagger and sword backline choices, as they provide additional dragon haste as their chain co-ability.
A similar story to co-abilities, a lack of standard attack wyrmprint boost options does limit her opportunity to capitalise on her damage output. As such, the following setup, assuming enabling of dual punishers, should help improve her damage output as much as possible:
- Howling to the Heavens (+12% Flurry Devastation (Shadow))
- A Man Unchanging (+30% Poison Punisher)
- Welcome to the Opera! (+25% Shadowblight Punisher)
- Two HP = 70% Strength wyrmprints, one of which has the sword affinity
- Savage Hawk (Lance’s Boon) (Sword Psalm III)
- Mask of Determination (Lance’s Boon) (Critical Rate +4%)
In the scenario of only one available affliction, a great alternative would be the use of a critical damage print, such as Moonlight Party, to capitalise on her critical rate.
For dragons, it would be best to prioritise ones which provide a strength boost, which helps improve the damage of her standard attacks and that of the summoned Bahamut’s regular attacks. The best choice would be Gala Bahamut, who provides a base 120% strength boost and an innate 50% shapeshift prep, which allows her to immediately summon Bahamut onto the battlefield. The next best option is Gala Reborn Nidhogg, who provides a base 70% strength boost and 30% boost to the elemental damage modifier. For players without either of these dragons, your next best permanent option is either the dragons Nidhogg or High Zodiark, whose fifth unbind provides a base 40% strength boost and an additional 40% strength buff (immune to Curse of Nihility) for the first three minutes of a quest.
Wyrm of Genesis
One of two powerful beings that have existed since the primordial times of the world of Dragalia Lord, Gala Bahamut enters the game as the third Gala dragon in the shadow element. A dragon with imposing black wings, Gala Bahamut’s passive abilities seem to try to one up Gala Reborn Nidhogg, who was released only a few months ago.
To start with, Gala Bahamut provides a straight up 120% strength boost to shadow adventurers who have him equipped. This is immediately better than the 70% strength and 30% elemental bonus provided by Gala Reborn Nidhogg by about 7% or so, not considering dragon form damage. His second passive ability, Almighty Rage, will fill 50% of the user’s dragon gauge at the beginning of quests and extend the time in which an adventurer can shapeshift as Gala Bahamut by 100%.
This is to consider his main gimmick tied to his dragon skill, Cataclysm Beam. This skill has a unique gauge with three bars that can be filled by performing standard attacks or his unique dragon strike, which deals 4 hits of 272% damage and fills this bar by 10%. By performing these actions, a player can empower this skill up to 3 levels per 30 SP that the bar is filled, and the bonuses that each bar provide are as follows:
- One Bar: Deals 5 hits of 410% damage
- Two Bars: Deals 6 hits of 516% damage and grants the entire team a team defence amp (maximum team amp level of 1)
- Three Bars: Deals 9 hits of 540% damage and grants the entire team both a team defence amp and team strength amp (maximum team amp level of 1)
While the standard attacks, dragon strike and dragon skill of Gala Bahamut have excellent damage, easily eclipsing that of other dragons in the game, the Almighty Rage passive ability comes with a catch. To shapeshift into Gala Bahamut, players must accrue two bars of the shapeshift gauge instead of the typical one gauge. Furthermore, players who have Gala Bahamut equipped are unable to fill the amount of dragon gauge at the start of quests above the 50% provided by this dragon. Units with a unique dragondrive mechanic are exempted from this penalty though.
Overall, Gala Bahamut enters the game with an excellent passive ability to further boost units oriented around standard attack and force strikes. His strong dragon form may also allow units centred around acquiring rapid shapeshift, such as Forte, Audric or Alberius, to further excel in their damage output. Outside of these two scenarios though, it is still incredibly hard to beat the skill damage passives provided for adventurers that primarily use skills as their main damage sources by the dragons Arsene and Gala Cat Sith (in content without the Curse of Nihility debuff), even considering Gala Bahamut’s strong dragon form. However, in fights that are relatively short and do not provide much dragon gauge or time to shapeshift more than twice, players will get much more value out of his dragon form considering it packs twice the punch of typical dragons, compared to competitors. With these considerations though, I would only recommend summoning him if you wish to best optimise the damage output of adventurers focused on standard attacks, force strikes or possibly rapid shapeshifting.
On Summoning Rates and Wyrmsigils
- Gala Remix banners have a boosted 5-star summoning rate of 6%, up from the normal 4%.
- The adventurers Gala Zethia has a boosted rate of 0.5%, while Gala Bahamut has one at 0.8%.
- Outside of these two units, the dragons Gala Cat Sith, Gala Thor, Gala Mars and Gala Beast Volk are also featured at an individual rate of 0.8%.
- No other units can be sparked beside the focus units.
Final Verdict: Yes
Gala Zethia and Gala Bahamut are excellent additions to the shadow element roster that will surely help you achieve greater means of damage output in one way or another. Not to mention, the additional focus rates for excellent dragons Gala Beast Volk, Gala Mars and Gala Cat Sith make this an great banner for new and returning players to invest into.