Should You Summon: September 2021 Shackles of the Syndicate Ft. Gala Mascula and Thor

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Welcome to another edition of Should You Summon, an opinion piece to help you decide whether the latest units released in Dragalia Lost are worthwhile to spend your summoning currency on. The mid-monthly event has brought along a continuation of the Syndicate storyline, with a returning adventurer donning a new disguise and a new adventurer hoping to liberate those enslaved from their experiments. These units coincide on a Gala Remix banner, which provides focus rates for a previously released Gala adventurer and dragon respectively. Let us see if they have what it takes to catch your attention before the 3rd anniversary of the game.

The Power of Wyrmbinding

With access to wyrmbinding and his positive attitude in life, Farren brings the power of dragondrive to the light element to see if he can make a splash to a primarily dominant limited meta. Wielding a dagger, Farren’s only real competition for the most part is the limited adventurer Mitsuhide. Thanks to her ability to afflict paralysis though, there isn’t any real overlap between the roles these two face, giving Farren clear room to set himself apart in the weapon archetype.

Adventurer Overview

Farren’s overall effective playstyle is completely opposite to that of a previously released dagger wyrmbound adventurer, Bellina. While she received significant bonuses to her skill damage and standard attacks while at a low HP threshold, Farren’s standard attacks and skill damage is at its highest while he is at the high HP threshold. This type of adventurer is typically referred to as a stamina unit, as these types of units have their damage reduced as they become weaker and tired, or in terms of the game, lose their HP. His first passive ability reflects this condition, Wyrmbound Shell, that replaces the shapeshift button to a unique dragondrive gauge. While Farren is unable to shapeshift into a dragon, he is instead granted benefits when he enters his dragondrive mode by pressing the associated button, which include:

  • The user’s standard attacks and force strike are changed.
  • The damage of these two attack types increase as the user’s HP increases (up to 0.1 multiplier at 1 HP)
  • Connecting hits with these two attack types fill the user’s dragondrive gauge.
  • The user’s defence is increased by 20%.

The stamina condition is also reflected in his first and second skills while he is in dragondrive mode. At 2,860 SP, his first skill Mighty Protector, while not in dragondrive mode, will deal 5 hits of 400% damage to enemies directly ahead, grant the user a defence amp (maximum team amp level of 2), and fills the dragondrive gauge by 10%. While in dragondrive mode though this skill transforms into Howling Protector, which instead deals 5 hits of 520% damage on top of the additional effects the base skill provides. The stamina condition will reduce the damage of this skill down to 5 hits of 52% at 1 HP.

His second skill No Holds Barred, at an SP cost of 10,725, will consume the entre dragondrive gauge and restore the user’s HP based on the amount consumed with 30% recovery potency. In dragondrive mode though this skill transforms into Steadfast Victory, which will consume505 of the dragondrive gauge to deal 1 hit of 3250% damage and fill the skill gauge by 50%. With the stamina condition in place, the modifier of this skill is reduced to 1 hit of 325% damage at 1 HP. While Farren can generate a relatively good amount of dragondrive gauge while in his unique mode via his standard attacks and first skill, it can be hard to manage it with continual use of his second skill if you wish to make use of its great modifier. Hence, Farren’s second passive ability, Right Hand Dragon, solves this setback by gradually filling the user’s dragondrive gauge by 1.5% per second while he has a team defence amp. Due to the low SP cost of his first skill, it doesn’t take him long to generate this amp on his own, ensuring he has no issues maintaining uptime on his dragondrive mode.

Performance Summary

Overall, Farren possesses a hard-hitting kit for light that can make an impact for both content with and without the Curse of Nihility debuff. His only one downside is a lack of passive abilities which provide further bonuses to his damage output, which makes his damage more comparable to other light relevant units such as Gala Audric, Summer Chelle or Civilian Leif just to name a few. Considering his lack of additional utility besides his defence amps, its hard to recommend choosing him over units which either provide afflictions to deal with the melodies of the Iblis’s Surging Cascade fight, or the dispel utility needed in light endgame content. At the very least, it will be easy to maintain his stamina conditionals thanks to the availability of excellent healers in the light element, ensuring he performs at his best during a fight. His high damage modifiers also allow for excellent punishment during the break phase of a boss fight as well, which can make up the deficit he has of not having access to a strong dragon form such as Daikokuten. However, while he does possess a high fun factor thanks due to his unique combos during dragondrive mode, I would not recommend summoning for him unless you are not in possession of a great damage unit in the light element.

Recommended Co-abilities

To complement his innate critical rate co-ability, it is recommended to run a backline of the strength, wand, and light boost co-abilities to further boost his damage output. You can find these co-abilities on blade adventurers, wand adventurers, and the adventurers Peony (20%) or Persona’s Sophie (15%) respectively. In the scenario that an adventurer on your team is outputting the energy buff to your team, consider running Lucretia as your wand backline choice, as her chain co-ability Energy = Inspiration grants the user one level of inspiration each time they receive a level of energy (15 second cooldown). If you are not in the possession of a light boost co-ability, your best alternatives for his damage output will be units with the chain co-ability above 10 hits = strength or above 10 hits = critical rate in non-Curse of Nihility content, or a skill haste co-ability in Curse of Nihility content.

Recommended Wyrmprints

If the typical dual light afflictions (paralysis and flashburn) are available in the fight, the following wyrmprint setup will capitalise on punisher, skill damage, and critical rate boosts to further optimise his outgoing damage:

  • Extreme Teamwork (+25% Flashburn Punisher)
  • Memory of a Friend (+20% Flurry Strength)
  • Spirit of the Season (+20% Paralysis Punisher)
  • A Passion for Produce (+12% Critical Rate)
  • A Small Courage (+20% Skill Damage)
  • Any Rise of the Sinister Dominion Skill Damage print
  • Any Rise of the Sinister Dominion Sword Psalm III print

In fights with only one affliction available, a great alternative to that associated punisher print is Moonlight Party (HP 70% = +22% Critical Damage) or Worthy Rivals (+30% Broken Punisher).

Disguised Researcher

Donning a disguise to sneak into the research ranks of the Syndicate, Grace receives her first alt, hoping to make a splash within the flame element. This time, Grace wields her late husband’s sword as an offensive tool to slay any foes in her path to atone for her sins she has previously committed. While there are a whopping five 5-star sword adventurers within the flame element, only two of them have remained relevant in the flame meta: Naveed and the recently spiralled Lea. Both bring their own respectable damage and utility options that have made them valid picks for Legend Volk and Jaldabaoth’s Piercing Galae fights, so Grace does have some stiff competition to overcome.

Adventurer Overview

We will start this analysis with the main gimmick of her kit, tied to her first passive ability Double-Edged Revelation. This ability provides bonuses based on the number of the ‘Soul Seal’ effect that she can grant herself, up to a maximum of four times. To acquire a stack of the ‘Soul Seal’ effect, she must land hits with her first skill, Soul Deprivation. At an SP cost of 3,000, this skill will deal 1 hit of 2,200% damage to surrounding enemies and reduce their strength by 10% for 10 seconds. This skill also grants a ‘Soul Seal’ per hit that it lands, which means that an overdamage buff would enable her to get double the amount of Soul Seals she would normally acquire as her attack would dish out two hits per enemy.

Depending on how many ‘Soul Seal’ buffs she has, she will receive the following bonuses:

  • One: Increases the damage dealt for all of Grace’s attacks by 10%.
  • Two: Increases the damage dealt for all of Grace’s attacks by 15%.
  • Three: Increases the damage dealt for all of Grace’s attacks by 20%.
  • Four: Increases the damage dealt for all of Grace’s attacks by 80%, but at the cost of inflicting 2% of the user’s maximum HP as damage every time an attack connects with an enemy.

As you can see, the incredible gain in power she gets at 4 stacks ultimately comes at the cost of risking her survivability by reducing her HP the more she attacks. To counter this though, her kit comes with perks that increase her ability to tank incoming unavoidable attacks or remove this buff when needed. Besides the strength reduction of her first skill, her second skill Flametongue Unbound, at an SP cost of 6,000, will deal hits of 1,000% damage and grant defence amps (maximum team amp level of 2) based on the number of ‘Soul Seal’ effects she has. The skill will consume all ‘Soul Seal’ stacks before use however, so any added extra damage from Double-Edged Revelation will not be applied. By consuming at least 3 stacks of ‘Soul Seal’, she can grant herself a team defence amp and activate her second passive ability Team Defence Amp = HP regen. This ability gradually recovers the user’s HP with 5% recovery potency every 2.9 seconds while they have a team defence amp equipped. The other way in which Undercover Grace can remove Soul Seals is by shapeshifting, a balance choice done to ensure she doesn’t carry the 80% damage bonus over to the strong damage modifiers that dragons have in the game.

Performance Summary

Overall, Undercover Grace provides a risk-reward system like that of her normal self, who had to consume her HP to provide a beefy life shield to protect others. Unlike her normal self though, her kit performs outstandingly well when it comes to damage in content with or without the Curse of Nihility debuff. If Undercover Grace has a teammate who has excellent healing potential, as well as the potential for future defence amp adventurers in the flame element that can enabler her self-regen ability without sacrificing her second skill, the risk of her ability to hold her maximum ‘Soul Seal’ buff can be mostly nullified. This is also on top of the fact that Undercover Grace cannot be knocked out by the damage inflicted from her maximum Soul Seals buff, further reducing her innate risk. This enables Undercover Grace to be an excellent damage dealer in the flame element, being able to compete with units such as Gala Leonidas, Gala Mym or Summer Mitsuhide to name a few. This does not even consider the additional enmity effects that could be applied if you wished to go down the low HP route. Her only downside is a lack of affliction utility to enable punisher effects, and a lack of dispel utility to remove buffs from bosses.

Two areas of caution that I would advise if you planned to use her though is your choice of skill share and managing her in corrosion. For skill shares I would advise not running any which have a significant amount of hits if your goal is maintaining a high HP threshold, as that will drain her HP aggressively. It is also important to keep an eye on her HP while the corrosion effect is in play in the Rise of the Sinister Dominion fights, as the combined effects of two HP drains may put you into the low HP threshold relatively quickly. Besides these risks though, I would recommend summoning for Undercover Grace if you are lacking excellent damage options for the flame element.

Recommended Co-abilities

To compliment her offensive kit, it is recommended for Undercover Grace to run the strength, skill damage and critical rate co-abilities found on blade, wand, and dagger adventurers respectively. In content without the Curse of Nihility debuff, you could consider swapping the dagger co-ability out for Yukata Cassandra’s chain co-ability Taking Damage = Strength, which grants the user a 13% strength buff for 15 seconds whenever they take damage (5 second cooldown). Another option in Curse of Nihility content, if you can maintain her combo count, is Kimono Elisanne’s chain co-ability Combo = Critical Rate, which provides Undercover Grace a 1% increase to her critical rate per 10-hit combo (stacks to 20 times).

Recommended Wyrmprints

The following wyrmprint setup will further boost Undercover Grace’s damage output assuming the enabling of dual flame afflictions (scorchrend and burn) being available in an endgame fight, and that you are playing the character in a healer environment:

  • Me and My Bestie! (+30% Burning Punisher)
  • Memory of a Friend (+20% Flurry Strength)
  • In the Limelight (+25% Scorchrend Punisher)
  • A Small Courage (+20% Skill Damage)
  • To the Extreme! (+12% Flurry Devastation (flame))
  • Crown of Light (or equivalent +20% Skill Damage)
  • Savage Hawk (Lance’s Boon) (or equivalent Sword Psalm III)

In fights with only one affliction available, a great alternative to that associated punisher print, like previously said for Farren, is Moonlight Party (HP 70% = +22% Critical Damage) or Worthy Rivals (+30% Broken Punisher).

Pure-Hearted Android

As the returning Gala adventurer for the banner, Mascula has been an excellent pick for water endgame content even since his arrival back in June. His ability to rapidly increase the hit count of his combos while in his Code 36: Coolant Cycle, as well as his dispel utility from his standard attack string made him an automatic favourite to use in the Legend Ayaha and Otoha fight. While he may not have had some of the raw damage capabilities and ease of use provided from his rival choice Lapis, Gala Mascula could still dish out the pain thanks to his cheap and high damage modifier enhanced second skill, his knockback immunity granted from his first skill, and the numerous buffs enabling for a boosted modifier of a Xander or Karina skill share. Gala Mascula’s amp ability has also seen greater improvements over time due to the further release of more strength amp units within the water element via new banners or Trials of the Mighty Mana Spirals, and the limited time dragon Summer Marishiten. Summer Marishiten has been a big boost for Gala Mascula, as the innate Skill Prep she provides allows Gala Mascula to immediately enable his enhanced mode, as well as further boosting his damage output due to relatively easy skill damage passive ability conditional. Even without Summer Marishiten though, I would still recommend summoning for him if you are not in possession of an excellent all round water unit to use in either prominent endgame fights.

The Fulminator

Somehow appearing on focus for the first time in a Gala Remix banner, Gala Thor comes back at a time where he has the least amount of relevance within the light meta. Once a powerhouse before the second anniversary buffs to the dragon and adventurers in the game, Gala Thor has easily been outclassed in utility by Gala Reborn Jeanne. Her passive ability far exceeds the conditional energy benefits that Gala Thor provides to adventurers. To top it all off, his passive ability being reliant on the energy buff is made irrelevant in Curse of Nihility content, ensuring that he only provides a weakened 50% strength passive. The worse part of this is that it is even weaker then some launch and first year permanent light dragons available. A weak dragon form also means its hard to compete with the likes of fellow limited dragon Daikokuten, whose attack rate buff zone provides an excellent support option for the Tartarus’s Wrath fights. Because of these reasons, I would not summon for Gala Thor under any condition unless you wish to complete your Gala collection.


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 Mascula, Farren and Undercover Grace have an individual focus rate of 0.5%, while the dragon Gala Thor has a focus rate of 0.8%.
  • Besides the focus units, the dragon Apollo is the only other sparkable option for this banner.

Final Verdict: Skip and save for anniversary

It is hard to recommend summoning for these units when anniversary provides options for players to summon for previously released Gala adventurers or dragon they’ve missed out on with either a spark or boosted rates. As such, there is not much reason to pull for Gala Mascula or Thor right now when they will be accessible again in around 2 weeks’ time. If you did have a significant amount of summoning currency on hand though, Undercover Grace can provide you that much needed damage boost to your flame element team that you may be missing even with Gala adventurers in hand. Outside of this situation though, Undercover Grace and Farren are excellent damage options for their respective elements without being must pickups. Because of this, it is relatively safe to miss out on them.

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