If you haven’t seen my previous article about team building with Dark Athena, definitely check that out. If you’ve already purchased Dark Athena, I’d love to hear what you think about her, but here are my thoughts on whether or not MP may have been wasted by a huge amount of PAD players.
Dark Athena is truly an amazing card that possibly had a bigger buzz than Myr. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing posts of “Dathena when?” Or “but what about Dark Athena” when other revos were announced. Now, you can’t go anywhere without hearing about the perfect Dark Athena team and how amazing it is at Ultimate Arena 3 farming.
However, after testing the team myself and talking with some players, it seems as though while Dark Athena has some great potential, she isn’t as OP as many thought. Honestly, I don’t want a card that is an end all card to clear all content in the game because then I would only want to use that card to ensure I clear dungeons. Colosseum and Arena 3 would be common place if one team covered all mechanics it presented without a flaw.
I’ve cleared Colosseum with Ra Dragon and Dark Athena and I honestly prefer playing with Ra Dragon.
While Dark Athena can certainly take on a lot, there are some pros and cons to having spent 750,000 MP for her.
Pros of Obtaining Dark Athena
Obtainable to all
In my Dark Athena guide, I talked about how we essentially received 562,205 MP for free from Gung-Ho over the spam of a few months. Because of this, Athena wasn’t far off for many players in the game, as long as they didn’t squander all of that free MP for things they didn’t need.
Because Dark Athena was essentially a present for so many players who have been around for awhile, it’s not the biggest deal if you don’t use her. If nothing else, she is a super strong (triple TPA) 3 turn delayer that can be inherited. Nothing about that is bad. You might be lacking a delay (like Orochi) or a strong TPA sub (like Satsuki) for dark teams.
A lot of teams that I have been putting together consider Dark Athena as a farmable sub. Even without the free MP from Gung-ho, If you play enough and try to grind predras as MP, you can easily get Dark Athena.
She is an amazing leader and can be a great sub for other teams as well.
One of the Best A3 Clear Consistency
Dark Athena is considered by many to be the top 3 speed farming options for Ultimate Arena 3. Other options are REM reliant for the leader (Kushinadahime, Aizen, and Minerva to name a few). The only option that is similar to Dark Athena and able to clear Ultimate Arena 3 solo pretty consistently is Ra Dragon. He only costs 300,000 MP compared to 750,000 MP. The problem with both however is the severe reliance on strong MP subs. Some players will never get the Dark Kalis needed to make the perfect Ra Dragon team.
Helping New Players Achieve New Heights
A farmable card that helps all new players hasn’t happened like this since Myr’s release. Myr gave a nice time extend for new players, but Dark Athena gives amazing strength with just 2 combos. It is a really good thing for newer players to get used to higher tier teams before they can take them on themselves. This is similar to weight lifters attempting to do much higher weights than they are capable of just to get a feel of the weight and develop muscle memory.
If 2 combos (1 dark and 1 blue) allow a user to one shot dungeons that were previously giving them trouble, then this will allow them to see higher difficulty dungeons than they may be capable of to help build their sense of progression in the game.
If Gung-Ho didn’t make cards like Myr and Dark Athena, newer players would get discouraged if their luck was not there in the REM pulls.
Makes Any Alt Instantly Great for Saving Stamina.
The amazing part of Dark Athena is it totally saved my alternate account. My best leaders before Dark Athena were Reincarnated Ra and Reincarnated Izanagi; both of which didn’t have complete teams. This is my oldest account at almost 1200 days so it’s hard to dispute the bad luck I’ve had on that account. If it were any good, I would have never need to make new accounts, but I always kept it around.
While my Dark Athena team on my alt is far from what I would even consider good, it has allowed me to be able to enter coop Ultimate Arena 3 on demand. That means that I can farm a tough dungeon and not have to worry about finding a partner at all hours of the day or worrying about using 99 stamina to deplete my stamina gauge.
Cons of Spending So Much for Dank Athena
Obtainable For All
The same reason Dark Athena is a pro is also a con in this case, especially since the release of 3P Coop
Since anyone can obtain Dark Athena, and if you saved properly you would only be a few lucky rolls (or a ton of bad rolls) away from having one yourself due to the free MP Gung-Ho gave out over the course of 6 months, there are many who may not be ready for Dark Athena.
A common misconception about this game is high rank or good cards = high skill level in this game. Those who have been taking on 3P Annihilation for their Azathoth farming have seen this first hand.
There are a ton of Dark Athena users out there who are unable to make more than 4 combos consistently and are also unaware of how to save orbs for their partners. Since the perfect team requires multiple Hakus, you will want 7 combos on average when dealing with an enemy. This will take advantage of Haku’s 7Combo awakening to boost her damage by 2.
It can be very misleading when you join a random team and you see someone who can’t combo very consistently with a perfect Dark Athena team. Unfortunately this leads to bullying and posting mean pictures about these people on Reddit and Facebook.
Perfect team lacks hearts in clutch situations
Truth be told, having 3 Hakus can be a curse sometimes. I try not to use Haku’s skill when playing Ultimate Arena 3 or another hard dungeon because I prefer my inherits (Ryune and Ana Typhon). If I use Haku too early, she will be able to haste the other team members, but you won’t have any heart creators later on.
The later stages of Arena 3 have big preemptives (DQ Hera, Lifve) and big resolve monsters who hit hard (Ilsix). You’ll really want to know your damage calculation perfectly, and playing Dark Athena can become robotic.
Stalling is very hard
Dark Athena’s damage doesn’t scale quite as well as other top tier monsters (Kushinadahime) because you have to get dark and water to get x49 damage AND your RCV bonus. The team severely lacks RCV (Dark Athena has 0) and you can only stall by matching both dark heart and water, but you will be doing a lot of damage. It’s best to avoid dark TPAs when “stalling” but it’s very easy to go overboard.
On Thoth for example, I like to stall through the 5 turn skill delay his preemptive makes. Sometimes I will accidentally see a TPA skyfall when trying to heal, which means he’s gone too quick for me to stall.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may find yourself out of options against a hard hitting enemy like Kali or Orpharion, who will pummel you for over 20,000 each turn. If you’re out of skills at this point of the dungeon, you will need to continue clearing a ton of the board and hope for hearts to come in. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, they never come, and you are left with no heals. Sometimes you have heals but no dark/water to get the rcv bonus. And sometimes you lose to Pys because you are unable to muster up hearts.
Lack of No Skyfall
No skyfall is an amazing mechanic (situationally) that allows you to control your damage against monsters like Sopdet and Hera Dragon. With Dark Athena, these monsters can be dealt with, but you are always suspect to unwanted skyfalls taking over.
The same can be said for many top tier teams like Julie and Ra Dragon. Not every team needs no skyfalls to be considered top tier, but it certainly makes damage control much more consistent.
Perfect team requires heavy R.E.M. Luck.
If you have 3 hakus and kushi, it is better in most situations to use Kushinadahime. The main benefit to Dark Athena over Kushinadahime is the speed Dathena brings to the table. Kushi controls damage, can hit harder, and has all attributes covered so you can use Guard Break against Predras.
The problem I find with having a measly 3 Hakus is I always have to switch my assists if I want to use Dark Athena vs Kushinadahime. Because a lot of people like to use Dark Athena, my inherits are for her, but in Solo mode I play a lot of Kushinadahime so my assists are a mix of both. I still have Indra on my Haku, but it’s just not as needed for Kushi since both leaders have 75% damage reduction.
Play style can be boring
A lot of complaints I have heard about Dark Athena is her playstyle is very boring. For newer players, taking on high end content is now obtainable, but veterans have found that she lacks skill to play and there’s no new challenge.
Most top tier players right now are using Reincarnated Anubis now that Diao Chan is in NA, and Anubis requires 9-11 combos to achieve tens of millions of damage. The novelty of Dark Athena for these players has worn off.
Dropping out of top tier as new JP cards introduced.
Dark Athena is truly strong and amazing at farming Ultimate Arena 3, but as new cards are introduced, she will only get pushed further and further down the tier list.
As always, just because a card isn’t top tier doesn’t mean she is bad. However in relative terms, a lot of people are finding Athena isn’t as fun a lead to use and she was a waste of MP.
Let me know what your thoughts on Dark Athena are in the comments below