Arena 1 has allegedly been "easy" since the advent of RaDra and YomiGon. Personally, I never bought this argument, because their strength was contingent on unobtainable 6* GFEs. Leads like Pandora, Thoria, and Lucifer were always able to solo Arena, but at a glacial pace conducive to death by exhaustion. Myr can clear solo at a slightly less glacial pace, but what if you want to go faster? What if you want Piis fast, but don't have the Megawhale Yomigon team with 300 Eschamali? Awoken Cao is your man when you have the need for speed. He requires minimal brain cell usage. No heart-crossy shit. No orb trolled rainbow shit. He doesn't even need to sweat active use too much, provided you use one of his many haste loop options. Just melt life bars with 6-9 red orbs and heal to full with 3 hearts. When you do stall, it will only be for 1 or 2 turns to plug the gap between actives. Now, there are some qualifications. Awoken Cao Cao is not a stable Arena lead. You will die horribly if you get 3 red Shieldras. If Lifive spawns on a board without hearts, and the next opponent is Dairy Queen Hera, you are fucked. If you get bad boards on Defoud, there is very little room for error. To use Cao, you need to accept that you will sometimes lose, despite your best efforts to prevent it. All that said, if you need an outlet for excess stamina and want to get some supplemental Py income, read on. Spoiler: Team Basics Generally, the template for Cao is to have 3, 7-turn orb changers with haste and a heartmaker. You need a heartmaker to heal, especially if you're heart trolled and the next floor has a pre-emptive. The 3 hastes plus Cao's delays create a pseudo system, where there will only be a 1-2 turn gap between actives. It is imperative that you or your friend has a Susano inherit. This will allow you to survive a DQ hit without latents. Further, the 3-turn shield plus haste will assist in recharging your actives before Kali. For this reason, I would suggest using Susano before Indra or Kushi, even if Indra has the stronger shield. In my opinion, the ideal Cao subs are 2 Scarlets, Antares, and Yamato. Antares' awakenings are all stellar for Cao, especially the God Killer. Scarlets keep the pain train running. Yamato's sparklehearts enable a devastating kill shot when paired with a heartbreaker, and his heart clear comes in handy for some of the middle floors. There are some substitutions you can make. Tsubaki can stand in for a dupe Scarlet and keep the haste chain going, but her active and RCV are worse. Sanada and Uriel are both capable substitutes for Yamato. They will combo with a heartbreak the same way, but the awakenings are slightly less favorable. Antares can be swapped for another Scarlet, but you may need to change your strategy on Kali. His God Killer is crucial to killing Kali without an enhance and without fail. I would not recommend using Cao without at least 2 haste subs. Without haste, it is significantly harder to keep Cao's actives flowing. And without actives, Cao has minimal firepower and no RCV to cover his low HP. If you don't have any haste, bite the bullet and make some Scarlets. They will pay off. If you can't make the Scarlets and don't have other haste options, you should probably explore other leader options for now. Sorry. Spoiler: General Strategy The most basic rule for Cao on most floors is one active, one kill. You generally will select one of your actives that would enable you to make a row, and that will eviscerate most targets. While you use your active, try to also clear hearts to heal from that round. If you can't kill with an active, don't use it. If you can't kill, stall a turn while hoarding an orb color you can use next turn. Then kill. Haste loops will minimize the amount of time spent stalling to recharge. Cao also has a rope and dope strategy that works on some floors. If you know the enemy will create poison, let them. Hoard poison orbs and then weaponize them with Cao. This gives free turns to recharge your other actives. If you use Antares or Raoh as a sub, you can do the same with jammers. Do not fret the order in which you use actives for most of the dungeon. I will specify when you should start saving something. Spoiler: F1-5 F1- pop any active and kill with a row. F2- Let Dark Izanami make poison on the first turn and then kill with Cao. Even if you could kill on the first turn, it's better to stall out a turn of that fucking orb time reduction. Kaguya is an easy kill with a Cao delay. Light Izanami is a free kill on turn 1. On Wada, I recommend either using Yamato for a simplified combo board, or waiting for him to make blue orbs that you can convert with Cao. A row and a red 3 pack should be sufficient to kill Wada. F3- Can stall one turn on any of them before killing with an active. Kamui and Amon will probably need 8 red orbs. F4- NEVER assume that you have enough red orbs to kill without an active. These guys are brutal if they survive. Kill them with extreme prejudice, no matter what active it takes. F5- If you get Unicorn, avoid actives and keep healing until the damage absorb ends. If Griffin, try to kill and heal inmediately. The others can be stalled on for a turn before you kill. Try to save a Cao active for the next floor. Spoiler: F6-10 F6- You are fucked if you get bound and then skill locked. Sorry. This is where Antares helps with his double SBR- if somebody else gets bound, you will still be at 100%. Anyway, this floor usually entails using whatever active you have ready to connect 8 orbs. A simple row may not cut it. Cao is good to have ready because he is unbindable, and his active will buy time if needed. Go for a heart row if you can use them and the enemy countdowns permit it. Otherwise, you can shake off the binds later. F7- You must hit Zhou Yu as hard as humanly possible on the first turn, or at least delay him. He will kill you if you don't break his Resolve before he can attack. For Gaia, just hoard hearts and save them for after she does Earth Gravity. Delay if heart trolled and HP drops below 18K. The other spawns are easily one-shot with a row. F8- You can stall out Minerva's combo guard, then kill her with an active and row. For Neptune, let him attack first turn, then kill him with his own poison orbs. All other spawns are free one-shots. If you don't think you can kill Ares through the blinds, eat the gravity while clearing blinds and hoarding hearts. Then heal and kill with an active next turn. F9- All non-blue Shieldras can be killed with a row and no actives. The blues can be killed with an active and a row, or 8 red orbs and no active. If you get 3 red Shieldras, you may be fucked. If you get 2 red Shieldras, make liberal use of delays and heartmakers to keep your HP above 16500. Use shields if you absolutely must; you have 10 turns and can recharge later. F10- Active and 8 orbs sweeps. Stall a turn or two if needed. You don't want to risk a rage hit by using only 6 orbs. Spoiler: F11-15 F11- Active and kill with 8 orbs on first turn if not Ronia. If Ronia, let her make red orbs first turn, then active and kill. Her combo guard sucks, but you don't need to connect more than 6 red orbs. F12- Active with 8 orbs and a couple other combos should kill comfortably. Stall a couple turns if you want. If you have Antares or Raoh, you can burn him with his own jammers. F13- There are 3 tricks for Sopdet: 1. Make liberal use of delays. 2. If using an active, make either 2 red prongs, or 1 red 5-pack. 3. If not using an active, do a row with no other combos. For Thoth, his skill delay is annoying, but he hits like a wet paper towel. Stall out the delay and then kill. Don't fuss too much if he binds somebody for 6 turns. Chances are, you'll still hit hard enough to kill everyone while the bind comes off. Kill Medjedra first turn with an active and 9 red orbs. Better to deal with an awkward leader swap than a combo guard. Osiris and Sphinx are easy targets for an active and a row. F14- Stall a couple turns if the spawn isn't Drall, especially if the last opponent to was Medjedra, Sop, or Thoth. Kill with extreme prejudice if you do get Drall. Regardless of spawn, start saving Cao, a shield inherit, and a heartmaker for the home stretch. F15- The same damage tricks on Sop will work on Parv. However, YOU MUST DELAY HER when going for the kill. Himalayan Anger will hit above your damage cap. Try waiting for her to do Trishula. Then use Cao while trying to clear only 4 red orbs. This should remove a large chunk and leave ample orbs for a 1-combo, no-active row next turn. Otherwise, you can technically stall out the 99 turn absorb. If doing so, save 4 hearts along the left or right side every time she does Calming Mountain Wind. Make a huge red blob if her HP gets close to half. Meimei and Venus both die easily to an active and 8 orbs. On Kagu, try your best to clear the board and heal until a Cao active goes up. Then use that to kill him. Avoid connecting more than 5 red orbs without actives. Spoiler: F16-21 F16- If you have a Cao active ready or close to ready, hoard hearts and let him hit you for 2 turns, then kill and heal with the Cao active. If you had Kagu on the last floor, a Cao convert probably isn't an option because you need to save one Cao for his shield inherit. In this case, try to kill on the first turn with 9 red orbs and an active. Alternately, you can tank the hit and try to heal without actives, then pop Antares or Raoh. YOU MUST HAVE MORE THAN 22,600 HP WHEN YOU KILL GRISAR. F17- any Zeus can be stalled on for a couple turns if needed. Kill with your heartmaker when wounded and heart trolled. YOU MUST HAVE FULL HEALTH FOR THE NEXT FLOOR, IN CASE OF LIFIVE. F18- This floor is where you will cement the run's success or failure, regardless of spawn. If you can position yourself so that you will have a Cao active and shield ready for the next floor, and a heartmaker + heartbreaker for Kali, you win. You should have 3 turns of haste ready between the Susano shield and 2 subs. These will be critical to getting your other actives back up for the home stretch. YOU MUST USE A SUSANO INHERIT WHILE KILLING THIS FLOOR, REGARDLESS OF SPAWN. If you get Lifive, you must use your Susano inherit and kill + heal immediately. You do not want to fuck around with his 20K hits and combo guard. Threedia can be stalled on for a turn before you go for the kill with your 1 or 2 haste subs. A row plus actives and a couple combos will suffice. If you get Gran, chip down her Resolve with an active and a row, no other red matches. Go for the kill with an active and 8 orbs when she turns purple. If you get Zaerog, eat the gravity while saving hearts. Then go for the kill + heal with 9 red orbs. If you get Defoud, try to hoard some red orbs for a turn or two before going for the kill and heal. This is the worst possible floor because 6 combos and a row is a nightmare with minimal fingers. But you don't need to connect 9 orbs in your 6 combo. A row and a 3 pack should suffice. Good luck. Don't feel too bad if you flub and die. It happens. F19- If you handled the previous floor well, you already won. If you get Beez, use Cao and kill with his own poison. Any other spawn can be stalled on for a turn or two while your shield is still up. Kill at your leisure with Cao and 9 orbs. F20- Heartmaker + Heartbreaker and row row row. If you have Antares, enjoy your one-shot. If not, you may need an enhance or a 2-shot approach. Should you bump into Kali with few actives or a bad board, there is a modicum of leeway for the 2-shot approach. 9 red orbs and an active is sufficient to break the 70% threshold, if you have a God Killer. A row and an 8-pack will drop Kali to about 25%. However, 2-shotting Kali should be done strictly as a contingency measure; Cao is not made to stall against a blind spammer with gravity. F21- Hopefully your health is good because you swept the previous floors while healing somewhere. The odds of getting this far with no hearts, no actives, and no HP should be low. Enjoy your Py. Or don't beat yourself up too much if you don't make it this far. Arena is still hard. Thanks for reading. I'll do my best to answer any questions. I'm no savant or expert, but I am am happy to at least try to prevent others from experiencing the same failures I did.