This is the 1st part of the guide. → Part 2 is in the next post right below ! ← ↓ - UPDATES AND CHANGELOG, KEEP AN EYE ON IT - ↓ Spoiler: Last update - May 6th 2021 Next to come : The guide, duh Last update - May 6th 2021 Stuff Spoiler: Previous updates May 6th 2021 Stuff May 1st 2021 Separated the guide in two parts (was starting to get quite big) April 30th 2021 Stuff. April 22nd 2021 Creation of this post * inhales * SEND HELP. How do I do this. How do I even start * Loud OOOOOOOOH HO HO HO HO HO HO in the distance * All jokes aside, you might or might not remember the Karin Kanzuki guide I wrote 2 years ago ? Heck, you might have read it thoroughly. WELP. IT'S OBSOLETE AND WRONG. But fear not. I'm here to fix that. Buckle up and grab a drink, we're in for a while. Welcome to the guide for my favorite lead still : Perfect Victor, Karin Kanzuki 2.0 Spoiler: Don't get fooled by the joke in the thread title. She's not meta Of course she's not. Not even close. In what timeline would color crosses ever be meta I was referring in the title to how she went from glassest cannonest glass cannon to actually very durable (while still being among the mostest powerful leads in the game), just like the vast majority of relevant leads in the game. Although it's not the same kind of durable. Karin Kanzuki now has x4 effective HP when mirrored, while the most modern actually playable leads are getting x17~ effective HP (looking at you, Gileon ). So in regards to modern leads and content, she remains glass cannon-ish. It is important to acknowledge and understand that despite all the good things I can tell you about Karin Kanzuki (and there are a lot), she is not and will never be meta. It's not because she's hard to use, or not practical, or not durable enough, or countered hard by hazards (for the record though : all of these are true). The main reason is the existence of damage cap, and how low it is set. And this is not an issue to Karin Kanzuki alone, but to all color cross leads. Simply put, every passing week, with each new batch of content, more and more teams are able to achieve damage cap on demand. Reason for that is simple : the high end challenges require more and more frequently to hit damage cap on several cards, because HP pools are getting gigantic. Thus, with the continuous powercreep, what makes color crosses special and sets them appart -their outstanding firepower- is gradually disappearing. And if the one thing crosses are good at isn't something they're special for, they cannot be meta. If there are more durable and practical leads that can achieve the damage of crosses, without having all the downsides and issues inherent to crosses (and holy nova are there a lot), then color crosses cannot be anything beyond "kinda relevant™" (for the record, Karin Kanzuki is kinda relevant). However, crosses would shine if damage cap was removed, as they would become an incredible solution to enemy HP pools becoming massive. That is simply not the case. And as long as damage cap exist (or as long as it is that low (yes I do including the over-cap latent, it's still hella low)), color crosses cannot be meta. Or maybe they need to consistently cap at 2 crosses max, while having defense. Not happening. If you're fine with that and want to dive (back) into the realm of color crosses, Karin Kanzuki is likely the single best color cross lead in the game (7x6 swap set aside) to this day, or very close. THIS IS A WIP. None of this is in it's "final" state, not even close, and consider everything as highly subject to changes. There's a lot of copy/paste that hasn't been updated yet !! AS LONG AS I DON'T POST CLEARS WITH KARIN KANZUKI, CONSIDER EVERYTHING AS THEORY (preliminary) TABLE OF CONTENTS PART 1 (this post) GLOSSARY INTRODUCTION The "color-crosses" playstyle Karin Kanzuki is *special* APPROACHING KARIN KANZUKI Rainbow Karin Kanzuki™ General team design Other advices PART 2 (next post) BUILDING THE TEAM Leader pairings Subs (WIP) Equips (WIP) RUNNING KARIN KANZUKI (TBD) Help me Yamakyu I can't match crosses for life (TBD) Dungeon guides (coming much later) From here, please keep in mind that unless I specifically precise it, everytime I mention "Karin Kanzuki" or just "Karin", I'll refer to her ultimate form (Perfect Victor, Karin Kanzuki #5100). I'll be more specific when it is not the case. Similarly, everytime I mention anything related to running a dungeon (be it damage, general strategy, hp management, whatever, etc....) I'll refer to ult Karin Kanzuki (#5100) paired with herself (ult Karin Kanzuki (#5100)), unless I specifically mention another pairing. Unless specifically specified, all that follows is my opinion. I'll do my best make this information as accurate as possible, but I haven't read Karin Kanzuki guides myself, so I had to build this from my own knowledge and experience (no idea what JP thinks of Karin Kanzuki). And while I will do my best to back all of this up with facts and achievements, these are still my words. As invested in crosses as I am, I'm still just a random vocal guy on the internet who dedicated his last 3 years to color-crosses, abandonning almost completely all other playstyles. You're free to disagree with me, and I invite everyone to engage in the discussion about this leader. (also english isn't my native language, wording and general spelling accuracy could be off, thanks for bearing with me) TsubakiBot doesn't display stats with +297. Remember, it's +1000 HP, +500 ATK and + 300 RCV (actually +990/+495/+297 but oh well) - GLOSSARY - Just to make sure we're talking about the same stuff, here are some ambiguous terms I'm likely to use in this guide. If I'm using a confusing word in this guide, feel free to ask me to put in the glossary ! Spoiler: GLOSSARY Best Girl Planar Card #4196 Stasis Norn, Planar eHP (or effective HP) Effective HP is the combination of HP and shielding. A x2 HP leader gives x2 effective HP. A 50% shield leader doubles the damage you can take, and thus gives x2 effective HP A x2 HP leader with 50% shield gives x4 eHP Glass cannon lead Any lead that has no HP multiplier nor shield. Some people consider a lead a glass cannon only if they only also lack a RCV mult, which is fair, but I don't. Color-cross lead A lead which playstyle and damage revolves around matching 5 orbs of color in a + shape. Heart-cross, poison-cross or whatnot-cross are not color-crosses. Mono-color, bi-color, tri-color cross leads Leads that can activate with crosses of respectively 1, 2 or 3 different colors. Rainbow cross lead A cross lead which can match crosses of all colors. As of today, only the new Toragon , Sousuke Sagara and Amakozumi can do that in the NA server. The "scaling" The part of a color-cross leader skill which relies on matching crosses. For example, when I talk about "x3.5 scaling", that just means I'm referring to the fact a color cross lead gets x3.5 ATK per cross. Most of the times, when I talk about scaling I imply a self pairing (ex : Karin Kanzuki X Karin Kanzuki), or a pairing with the same scaling (ex : Wedding Rushana X Reincarnated Rushana). VDP power The ability of card with (a) VDP awakening(s) to deal damage. High VDP power is particularly desirable for teams which only has 1 VDP sub. Board fix A board fixing active skill is an AS which spawns set pattern/shape of orbs in a set location. It allows to adjust an orb starved board in a 100% predictable way. Classic orb changers and board changers AS aren't board fixer imo because you can never guarantee the outcome : → an orb change will do nothing if there are no orbs of the right color → a board change is susceptible to poor RNG. A board fixer suffers none of these issues as it spawns an amount of orbs that you can predict. A "DKali board" A board change active skill that spawns all 5 colors and hearts. It's often called Dkali board because Dark Kali was the first ever monster to have an active skill that can do that. Similarly, we sometimes use "LKali" boards to refer to active skills that spawn all 5 colors (without hearts). A "Fujin" We say "a Fujin" to refer to a card which active skills can remove damage absorbtion, because Fujin was the first card to have ever had the "void damage absorbtion" active skill. An "Odindra" Similarly, we say "an Odindra" to a card which active skill can clear all binds and awoken binds. Odin Dragon (Odindra) was the first card to be able to do that. Modern cleric types active skill usually include stuff like a RCV buff or erasure of the "unmatchable color" debuff. Odindra check A combination of hazard that Odindra by itself solves with its active skill : awoken bind followed by normal bind (often pretty long, or on the leader/helper). Odindra clears both. An Odindra check is just a way for the game to punish you if you don't have an Odindra AS. A "gravity" A skill that deals exactly X% of damage. Both players and enemies can use a gravity. Enemy gravities come in a lot of flavors, but are usually 50%, 75% 99%, 100%, 150%, or any multiple of 100. Any gravity can be shielded to reduce the % of damage received. No matter your HP : No gravity weaker than 100% can kill you. No gravity of 100% or more can be survived without some damage mitigation (attribute resistance or shielding) Gravities usable by players deal exactly X% of the enemy's remaining health. This cannot be mitigated with high defense or shields, but it can be absorbed or voided with damage void/absorb. A "true gravity" is an active skill that deals exactly X% of the enemy's base health. These are rarer, as they're more powerful. The name "gravity" comes from Hera's active skill name : "Ultra Gravity". Team HP+ awakening This beautiful thing It increases the team's base HP by 5% per each. Tape resistance awakening Officially named "Resistance-immobility", the tape resist awakening is this thingy Also named sometimes "scroll". Cross awakening This absolut unit x2.5 base damage per cross matched and per awake removes 3 turns of hard sticky blind skyfall per cross matched and per awake Dango/takoyaki awakening Officially named Enhanced [color] combo, dangos/takoyaki are these .... They're a great way to "passively" increase the damage of a color for the whole team, as they make each additional on-color combo matched stronger (and the more of these you have, the stronger each additional match becomes). The exact maths is beyond me, you'll have to research it, but having several of these can be very beneficial. They look like dangos or takoyaki, hence the name. Sometimes also called grape Heart-TPA awakening A Heart-TPA is a match of 4 hearts (like a Two-Pronged Attack) done when one or more "Enhanced Heart Orbs" awakening are in the team. For each heart-TPA matched, the base RCV is increased by 1.5^(amount of heart-TPA awakes) x the card's RCV. This awoken skill scales rather fast, and can make a card with high RCV and several of these a RCV stick able to heal to full even the tankiest teams. High challenges Annihilation level dungeons such as One Shot Challenges, monthly C9 and C10, Arenas, Alternative Arenas, Colosseum, Illusory World of Carnage (= Shura Realms), etc... Essentially "endgame" stuff. Stall and kill playstyle As the name suggest, it's a general strategy that involves a lot of waiting for opportunites, and then killing when a kill window is open. Kinda like "hit and run and stall". Kill window A moment in the enemy hazard rotation in which it is vulnerable to your attacks, and you can actually attack the enemy. What makes the enemy vulnerable can either be because there is no damage mitigation up (absorb, reduction, void), because you have a way to negate a hazard (board change to remove poison/bombs, orb unlock, Fujin), because you stored enough orbs, because you deactivated resolve, because it has been delayed, etc... Using an active skill such as a Fujin against a damage absorb can create a kill window. A kill windows can last more than 1 turn. A lot of monsters have a permanent kill window open, as they are always vulnerable. Kill solve Solving the board in a way that will have your team kill the enemy. Depending on the enemy and your team, a kill solve can be just matching combos, and sometimes it's super fancy stuff such as triple cross VDP FUA 7c and whatnot. Natural board A given board is "natural" when it was purely provided by random skyfall, and was not modified by an active skill. A board cease to be natural if it has hazards like poison, jammers, roulettes, tape, unmatchable orbs, or anything of the sort. Auto-FUA Officially named "Bonus Attack", FUA (for Follow-Up Attack) is an (usually small) attack inflicted to the enemy after dealing your team damage. FUA is true damage, and as such it ignores enemy defense. It normally requires you to have a specific awakening and match a specific shape of hearts to activate : A column of hearts for standard FUA (1 follow-up true damage) A box of 3x3 hearts for super FUA (99 follow-up true damage) FUA is used to kill enemies which have a "resolve", i.e, a HP threshold above which they cannot be killed in 1turn. FUA deals 1 damage after the team damage so enemies with resolve still die even if they were above the resolve threshold. Auto-FUA is when FUA is baked into a leader skill : activating the leader skill will activate the auto-FUA (even if the team doesn't have a FUA/SFUA awakening) and deal true damage after the team damage, just like FUA. Auto-FUA comes in a lot of flavors, and can start at 1 damage all the way up to several millions. There is 1 color cross lead with auto-FUA : Dracoblade, Light Fog (base Kyori). We don't talk about base Kyori here =_= Orb starvation You experience orb starvation when you're lacking sufficient amount of useful orbs. For Karin Kanzuki, experiencing orb starvation means your board has less than 5 of either/both fire and/or light, preventing you from matching sufficient crosses. Skill starvation You experience skill starvation when you're lacking active skills that could get you out of an undesirable situation. Good skill rotation prevents you from from experiencing skill starvation. Triple cross VDP FUA It's this. One of the hardest kind of solves. Or almost. Avoid if possible as it is a ressource sink and very easy to mess-up. Triple cross VDP FUA is, in general, very specific : it requires quite specific boards (it's very easy to have too much of your VDP color), specific orb managing (so very specific trajectories) while matching at all times in a space almost never wider than 3 orbs. If you have the means to manually deactivate an enemy resolve so that you don't have to FUA, use an AS to not have to manually VDP, or lower the enemy health so that 2 crosses are enough, pick either one of these options, as the combination of FUA + VPD + 3 crosses is what makes triple cross VDP FUA so hard. Triple cross VDP is "easy" in comparison (still hard, but also far more forgiving). So is triple cross FUA or double cross VDP FUA. Spoiler: Triple cross VDP FUA looks like this Win condition A combination of contextual elements which, when met, guarantees that the player cannot lose anymore and will clear the dungeon, granted they always perform their solve properly and experience average RNG. After the win condition is met, only by messing up badly or suffering extremely unusually terrible RNG can the player lose. Win conditions depend on the team design and dungeon design. Sometimes, there are no win condition, or the win condition is "reach the py floor in arena 1". Harder dungeons have stricter win conditions. Easier dungeons can have a win condition be "enter the dungeon" as it is not losable (granted good execution and average RNG) to begin with. SDR buffer SDR stands for "Skill-Delay Resist" ; a way to not be punished by enemies trying to delay your active skills. This is usually achieved in 2 different ways (which can work together) using skill delay resist latents (commonly refered as SDR) using a skill assist with a long cooldown. This is what we sometimes call a SDR buffer : a skill assist which purpose is to absorb skill delay instead of the base unit. - INTRODUCTION - Perfect Victor, Karin Kanzuki is the ultimate evolution of Karin Kanzuki, a card brought to the game when Street Fighter Collab hit Puzzle & Dragons for the first time, early in winter 2019 (JP and NA). This guide will cover all I know about Karin Kanzuki as a lead : her strengths, her weaknesses, what makes her special, and how to approach building a team for higher challenges such as monthly C10, Ultimate Arenas, Alternative Ultimate Arenas and Illusory World of Carnage (Shura Realm). She also is a nice sub, but this guide will make no mention of it. Spoiler: INTRODUCTION In a nuthsell : Karin Kanzuki used to be a 7x6 glass cannon light/fire cross lead, with tremendous fire power, comparable only to how fragile she inherently was, with only a RCV bonus as a supportive/defensive feature built-in her leader skill. She however received a massive buff in the latest iteration of Street Fighter V Collab (@ JP only as off today), giving her a free x2 HP mult to light cards, and thus, addressing her former main weakness : her frailness. This change (and another one) opens up a lot of stuff to her, be it content or subs, as well a new "playstyle". She remains however relatively fragile in regards to the newest content (in which dungeons hit you with 200k+ damage per turn), and still suffers from the natural issues that comes with playing crosses ; the inherent need for ressources : orbs, space and matching time. This guide will attempt at teaching you how to approach addressing that. - The "color-crosses" playstyle - Read this part if you don't know what color-cross leads are about or why they're special leads. Skip it otherwise. It's already a pretty darn long post ha ha. (I won't make any mention to heart-crosses in this guide as these have nothing in common except the shape : a "+" of 5 orbs (cross)) Quick TL;DR : Pros of playing attribute-crosses : Super fun Exponential damage scaling (easiest playstyle to reach damage cap with) Cons of playing attribute-crosses : challenging, with a not-so-smooth learning curve "orb hungry™" requires a lot of matching time team building is a bit harder Although less of an issue lately (which is great), good color cross leads are usually still quite outdated for a good part, and not ready for the latest challenges. Big reliance on 7x6 boards for consistency, alleviating hazards (void damage, resolve, spinners and high combo shields are a massive hassle in 6x5) and for harder content in general Spoiler: THE "COLOR-CROSSES" PLAYSTYLE Introduced in the game with Himura Kenshin's first appearance in July 2016 (Rurouni Kenshin collab, card #3019 ), color-crosses is a very special playstyle because it doesn't comply to one of the fundamentals design rules of Puzzle & Dragons : you can only activate a given leader skill once per turn. In Puzzle & Dragons, the vast majority of cards have a leader skill that define what the player must achieve to either deal damage or receive protection (all modern leaders do both). Sometimes it's a passive HP and/or ATK and/or RCV boost to cards of a certain type or color, and pretty often it's a specific condition to meet when matching orbs : matching a certain amount of combos, or a certain amount of linked orbs, sometimes even in a specific shape such as a L. All these leader skills work the same way, be it passive or active, when the condition is met the leader is activated and multiplies whatever stat it's supposed to by a certain amount. For example, without a helper : Seina gets flat x7 ATK and x1.5 HP to all fire and/or water cards. She also gets x3 ATK, 50% shield and +2 combos for matching fire and water. The 1st part is flat and immuable. If a card has the appropriate colors, it gets the bonuses. The 2nd part only activates once. You won't get 3 x 3 and 75% shield for matching 2 fire and 2 water. Every leader skill can only be activated once. Except color-crosses. Color-cross leader skills work as follows : you get a certain amount of damage multiplier for each and every set of 5 orbs matched in a "+" formation, a.k.a a cross, of a given color or combination of colors. (I can't teach you how to play crosses here, but here are some easy patterns to learn to match crosses, and here are some more) Each additional cross multiplies this multiplier, so it's a power scaling. Which means that if you somehow manage to match 10 crosses, you get your LS multiplier to the power of 10. However fear not, it is so unlikely it might as well considered completely impossible in any circumstances (getting 6 is already an edge case). A realistic example would rather be to get 2 crosses in 6x5 board (up to 3), or 3-4 in a 7x6 board (up to 6), so in a 6x5 board you can activate your leader skill up to 3 times (ATK multiplier to the power of 3) or 6 times in a 7x6 board (ATK multiplier to the power of 6), which result in what color-crosses are known for : their rapidly growing exponential damage scaling. All relevant color cross leads have a 2-parts (or more) leader skill : The part which increases damage with the amount of crosses, which I usually call "cross power", or just "scaling". The part that doesn't, which works like any other leader skill (activable only once). The "base multiplier" if you prefer. It doesn't have to be flat and passive. There are 4 types of color-cross leads : mono-color cross leads, which can only match crosses of a single color (max 2 in 6x5, and 3 in 7x6). They usually have low-ish cross scaling, but high base mult. bi-color cross leads, which can match crosses of 2 colors (max 3 in 6x5, and 6 in 7x6). By far, bicolo cross leads are the most numerous. tri-color cross leads, which can match crosses of 3 colors. Though we shouldn't consider this a category since so far there are only so few of them. Rainbow cross lead, which can match crosses of all colors (not hearts). In NA PAD, there are only 3 leads that can do that : Toragon , Sousuke Sagara and Amakozumi . IN GENERAL (there are exceptions), mono-color att-cross leads usually have a pretty "high" non-cross base mult (usually at least x4, rarely above x7, up to x10), while bi-color cross leads have a lower non-cross LS ATK mult (lowest is x1.5, usually around x3, up to x5). For example : Reincarnated Rushana gets x3 ATK per wood or light cross, so if you pair with another Rushana friend you get x9 per wood/light cross matched. 1 cross is ATK x9 2 crosses is ATK x81 3 crosses is ATK x729 4 crosses (skyfall only if in a 6x5 board) is ATK x6561 This is what I call "x3 scaling". Alongside the cross scaling, she also has a passive x2.1 HP and x2.1 ATK, flat. Other examples : Best Girl Planar gets +1 combo and x3.5 ATK per fire/dark cross, so that's x12.25 per fire/dark cross when paired with herself. Alongside this, she also has x4 ATK and RCV when matching 6+ combos. Diara gets x2.5 ATK per fire cross, so that's x6.25 per fire cross when paired with herself. Alongside this she also gets x4 ATK and 50% shielding for reaching 7+ combos. Raijin gets x3 ATK per light cross, so that's x9 per fire cross paired with herself. Alongside this she also gets x7 ATK for matching full rainbow. Notice how Raijin and Diara have significantly more damage coming from their base mult. This is usually how it is for mono-color cross leads because the amount of crosses you can match without skyfall is very limited : only 2 in 6x5, and 3 in 7x6. Bi-color cross leads have access to much more power, which make them more flexible and usable. Mono-color cross leads kinda get "more reward for less crosses", which allow them to get away and kill some stuff with only one cross, while bi-color cross leads usually struggle at this and will require 1 more cross to deal equivalent damage to mono-color crosses (so 2 crosses to reach the damage of a mono-color cross lead with only 1 cross). Can't say much about tri-color and rainbow cross leads as there aren't enough to make assumptions. The exponential damage scaling is what sets color-cross leaders appart from other leads, as they don't have any fixed limit on how high their multiplier can reach (obviously there's a multiplier cap, similarly to how there is a damage cap, and obviously the board doesn't have an infinite amount of space). However. Despite their firepower, color-crosses remains a very niche playstyle, for a bunch of very good reasons. First and foremost, matching a cross is a ressource sink. You need 5 orbs to match a cross, it takes a massive amount of space and a significant amount of matching time to do it. Then there's the learning curve, which is certainly not nice and smooth ; playing color-crosses is inherently challenging as it is easy to mess-up a cross (be careful of the infamous jesus-cross (a "t" of 6 orbs instead of a "+" of 5 orbs)), and crosses might screw up your comboing if you're not careful. Crosses also create what I call "dead space" in the board, space which is hard to match anything in ; you have to set up a combo or a cascade beforehand : once it's matched it's hard to make more combos in the near vicinity of a cross, yet you have to learn to do it. Team building is not super easy either, because of the need for matching time and active skills to fix boards. Color-cross leads have very bad time against hazards found very commonly in higher level dungeons, especially in 6x5 : any combo shield that needs 8 combos or more require high execution skill and very specific boards to be hit through without skyfall, while also preventing triple-cross in 6x5 entirely (of course you can try your luck with 7c triple-cross and hope for skyfall, but the loss of ressources in case you don't get these is pretty daunting). FUA places an almost absolute limit on how many crosses you can match in 6x5 to 2. It is virtually possible to triple cross FUA in 6x5. You'll just never succeed as it is extremely specific and immensely hard to perform, because you need to cascade not only 1, but 2 crosses to succeed at this. It also significantly reduces your combo count. VDP is virtually impossible in 6x5 as only tri-color leads can double-cross VDP in 6x5, and it requires extremely specific boards and extreme care in execution as it's extremely hard to perform. The damage output is also extremely ass because tricolor leads are usually designed to unleash their power at 3 crosses, not 2. So you might as well not do it entirely. Spinners exist. Fuck spinners. Tape on either side of the board can make matching crosses a nightmare. Hard blind will make matching crosses a nightmare. Clouds suck too. 7x6 boards addresses most of the inherent issues with color-crosses, but it's still not a magic fix that solves everything. Lastly, and this bit is very important : it is important to acknowledge that the color-cross playstyle still lacks good leads in general. We are getting more and more lately, which is excellent, but so far they remain exceptions rather than the norm, and at vastly lesser levels of durability that other usual modern leads. The most durable one so far is Verdandi at x6.25 eHP, then Reincarnated Rushana at x4.41 eHP (none of them have a shield), then a few leads with x4 eHP thanks to their conditional 50% shield like or , and more recently : Karin Kanzuki. Let's hope that the trend of good cross leads being released lately don't loose its momentum. - Karin Kanzuki is "special" - Karin Kanzuki used to be special for being the first cross lead (and probably (?) the first lead ever, but don't quote me on that) to be both a 7x6 lead and having the leader skill of a 6x5 leader : Best Girl Planar . With the latest iteration of Street Fighter Collab this statement is not true anymore : Karin Kanzuki is special for being way better than that now, while still keeping her natural 7x6 board. She remains however "relatively" fragile, compared to meta leads ; her flat x2 HP mult makes her an entirely different (and immensely more potent) leader, but for the high end challenges her tiny personal HP and -most importantly- lack of a natural shield will hurt her, and will need to be addressed in team building. In that aspect, Karin Kanzuki is very similar to her pas self, but finally "up-to-date". Spoiler: KARIN KANZUKI IS "SPECIAL" Color-crosses is a special playstyle in itself. Among this playstyle there are some "special" leads that stand out (or don't). Calling them special feel kinda wrong in 2021, as lately it feels like the good cross leads are all "special" cross leads. And vice versa. Here a few examples. Most emblematic color-cross lead was Aizen, with a *flat* very high x6 ATK multiplier and a very low scaling at only x2 per cross, alongside a flat RCV buff that enabled a very efficient "stall and hit" playstyle. RCV mults among cross leads are quite rare in general, so having it being flat (especially back then) was certainly amazing. Cherun is somewhat special in the fact that her cross power (x3 per cross) is at all times weaker to her base mult (x10). She's still a very powerful glass canon though, don't get me wrong. Just an odd one. Mega Paimon is special for having very high scaling (x3.5 and +1 combo per cross), alongside a very nice x4 ATK base mult above 50% HP (a mult more commonly found among mono-color cross leads), and most importantly a 50% passive shield above said threshold that makes him very durable and potent, even in high-ish challenges. This combination of features is impressive, and makes him one of the best 6x5 color cross lead. You could say any of the tri-color and rainbow cross leads are special, since there are so few. Especially Nemain, who has a combination of a pretty high x5 base mult (combo-based) AND good scaling at x3 per cross. That would have been normal if Nemain was mono-color as it is a pretty standard mono-color cross LS (Fujin has combo based x6 and x2.5 per cross), but she is tri-color which means her cross power is far above mono-color cross leads, because she can match 3 crosses in 6x5 board. Making her a very potent 6x5 cross lead. Similarly, Aoi Shikigami is special for being bicolor and having a very high (and flat) x5 base mult, alongside a very high x3.5 scaling, alongside a x2 HP mult. These combinations of features makes him almost the best 6x5 cross lead to date, 2nd to post-buff Verdandi. Reincarnated Yashamaru Kurama, is special for being the first "color cross lead™" without any ATK mult tied to matching colored crosses, but instead +2 combos (+4 combos when mirrored) per cross. Can he be called a color cross lead, I genuinely wonder. Karin Kanzuki is one of these special color-cross lead too. Karin Kanzuki is special because she has an extremey unusual combination of LS features : 7x6 + x2 all stats + x3.5 scaling + bicolor. I'm probably not teaching you anything when I tell you that since 7x6 leads exist in this game they've always been made weaker than 6x5 leads. Reason for this is simple : a 7x6 board is in itself a tremendous buff to any team (except maybe rows and "X orbs or less remaining on board"). So to achieve some kind of """balance""", so far GungHo's designers have been carefully making 7x6 leads with less potent leader skills, compared to their 6x5 counterpart, which is why we usually pair 7x6 leads with strongers 6x5 helpers. Hence why 7x6 leader swap can be so good, and why 7x6 leads are almost never paired with themselves : you only need one to get the benefit of a 7x6 board, having a 7x6 lead also as a helper means you're just ditching power and survivability. So 7x6 leads are paired with 6x5 leads. Thats's how the game handles 7x6 leads, and it has always been quite fair. That was until Karin from Street Fighter collab was revealed :9 Her leader skill features are : → 7x6 Board → 2x HP/ATK/RCV for light attribute → 3.5x ATK for each light or fire cross That, ladies and gentleman, is better than even Planar's LS, despite her being an authentic 6x5 cross Leader skill. But Karin Kanzuki is a 7x6 lead. She used to be a light 7x6 Planar, but with her recent buff she derived from her, as Karin Kanzuki is a glass cannon no more. x3.5 ATK scaling is huge. That's x12.25 per cross when mirrored. So in 7x6 ? Oh boy. The highest scaling you can get on a color cross lead so far is x4 per cross (Wallace isn't a color-cross lead), and these are found on 6x5 mono-color leads (2 crosses max). Karin Kanzuki is freakin bi-color 7x6 lead with the 2nd highest possible scaling so far, at x3.5 per cross. That is nuts. The two other 7x6 leads are June Bride Rushana and Allatu (which are tri-color), and they both have a x3 scaling, with vastly less durable LS : Wedding Rushana only has a weak x1.5 HP mult, and Allatu only has x3 RCV, and none of them have a base mult. Karin has a flat x2 to ATK, RCV and HP. In a vacuum, from a design perspective (and compared to LS design in general), Karin Kanzuki's Leader skill remains broken (Karin Kanzuki is not broken, but her LS design is). She used to have a broken LS back then at her release 2 years ago, and that is still true today. Your damage scales really high, really fast. To give you an idea, here's what x3.5 scaling means with a helper : 1 cross is x12.25 ATK. Very easy to perform, almost all natural 7x6 boards have 1 cross. 2 crosses is x150. Very easy to perform, and the average natural 7x6 board does have 2 crosses. 3 crosses is x1838. Still quite easy to perform, and you can get a lot of natural triple cross boards, even in short dungeons. 4 crosses is x22518. A bit trickier to pull off (still not a big deal), and still achievable in a lucky natural board. 4 crosses is virtually guaranted to make you hit damage cap. And that's just the scaling. Alongside that, Karin Kanzuki has a flat x4 ATK mult (when paired with herself), which means your LS mult is actually x600 at only 2 crosses. And there are still massive space to combo the rest of the board. And you basically add more than one digit to your damage output with each cross. And in 7x6 you can match up to 6 (you need only 4 to cap non 7c subs though). I don't know if you realize how the scaling work but I can tell by experience that it is nuts. There is a balance reason why Allatu and Wedding Rushana only have x3 scaling and no base ATK mult. Karin Kanzuki used to be a -very glass and very cannon- glass cannon. Her flat RCV boost enabled a stall-and-kill playstyle ; she relied a ton on team HP+ awakes to meet HP threshold so that she can stall on non immediately lethal enemies, and kill them once skill rotation was correct and opportunities presented themselves. While some of this is still true to some extent, the fact that her LS isn't glass cannon anymore makes her vastly less reliant on team HP+ awakes, which opens up her sub-pool a ton. She still need them, a lot actually, but she used to not be allowed to exist without loads of team HP+ awakes, and now she is. The game -however- has vastly more hazards (and more frequently) than back when Karin was released, and as a color cross lead Karin Kanzuki still needs a crapload of resources to work. Thus, addressing hazard resistance is going to be high priority in team building, alongside compensating for her relatively low HP (Karin herself has 3.8k HP after LB +297) and orb generation. NOW THAT WAS ABOUT HER GETTING THE x2 HP TREATMENT (which -while I'm at it I might as well repeat it- was incredibly unexpected, considering how color cross leads have been treated lately). I didn't make any mention of the cross awakening and yet you'll see in a bit that this could be a pretty darn big deal too. - APPROACHING KARIN KANZUKI - Aight. This is the moment where we need to start thinking about Karin Kanzuki a bit differently. This is the moment where you need to start forgetting a part of what you used to know about her. This is the moment where I stop copying/pasting stuff from the previous guide x) I'll try my best to explain how this new Karin Kanzuki 2.0 is different from her past self, what her buff implies in team building, and how to -hopefully- make her function as a relevant (albeit, not meta) lead in 2021 PAD. Fear not, she's by essence quite the same as her former self, but her buffs give her some much needed flexibility, and opens up a very interesting new perspective. Spoiler: PLAYING KARIN KANZUKI I think the 2 biggest changes brought by her buffs are : She's now allowed to exist even without a shit ton of team HP+ awakes This is linked to point 1/ : her sub-pool is now vastly more massive. Kinda hard to sum things up in 2 words, so we'll discuss all that later. It is absolutely fantastatic and there are a lot to talk about regarding these 2 small points. But first, I would like to tell you about something that's been on my mind since about 1.67 seconds after seeing her buffs : building Karin Kanzuki's team rainbow. - Rainbow Karin Kanzuki™ - It's very unintuitive so I would rather tell you about that now instead of when you're tired of reading :9 Will address non rainbow teams too, don't worry. Spoiler: RAINBOW KARIN KANZUKI™ Actually I've been interested in running rainbow Karin Kanzuki for a long while, to benefit from the features of having a rainbow team : rainbow skill haste, rainbow guard break, and the rainbow VDP latent. Technically, we can do this even pre-buff, but the pros of running rainbow aren't enough to justify going out of your way to do that (and especially considering how hard it is to cover some colors water) : rainbow skill haste is nice, and guard break is occasionally useful, but the latents work very poorly unless used on a very high damage dealing card (which pre-buff Karin Kanzuki doesn't want). And then you have to adjust your team to playing rainbow, drastically reducing the available sub-pool (which is already not big for pre-buff Karin). Also covering water used to be pain (now it just suck a bit). A lot of downsides for ok-ish results. But her 2 buffs kinda enable that now. As a reminder, she got 2 big changes with the latest rerun of SFV collab : x2 HP to light 1 base cross awakening and 1 cross super awakening (also x1.5 RCV for 1 turn on her AS, but this is irrelevant to our current matter (although very welcome to erase RCV debuffs)) The combination of newly acquired durability and double cross awake is what enables her to play rainbow much better. Reason for this is a bit unintuitive but stay with me for a bit. Rainbow didn't work with pre-buff Karin Kanzuki because she had very specific subs and awakes requirements : exclusively very high HP subs, hazards suck and need to resisted, massive amounts of team HP+ are mandatory, as well as several shields, awoken bind is a lethal threat that you need to be able to deal with the turn it is applied, hazards still suck, you want tons of TE awakes too, all that while covering all colors (and water is annoying) and maintaining appropriate orb generation. It also didn't help that besides skill haste, all the benefits of rainbow revolve around one card dealing very high damage, because that card has to deal damage that the rest of the team won't be able to deal (i.e. VDP damage or guard break). But this contradict with one of the implied "rule" of pre-buff Karin Kanzuki team building : you don't need damage dealing cards (except VDP), especially those which require a specific orb shape (like TPA or L-Unlock, although we'll come back to these 2 awakes shortly). Damage was the 1 thing Karin Kanzuki had going for her and that didn't need to be addressed with subs. She already needed too much stuff to exist, so adding damage on top of it just makes her team building unnecessarily hard Well, her buffs make most of these issues non-issues. Water still sucks to cover (although there are finally a few great options,and even a farmable one), but other than that : she can work with average/high-ish HP subs (she still want high HP subs though) she doesn't beg for team HP+ awakes nearly as much (she still want these though) she doesn't need shields nearly as much (she still need some though) the cross awake is a reliable, consistent and powerful source of damage that synergize perfectly Also, unrelated to her buff ; hazard resistance is vastly easier nowadays, and water is easier to cover with actual optimal subs. All in all, what you need to see here is 1/ her team building is more flexible 2/ she is herself a high damage dealing card thanks to the cross awake. Simply put, you no longer need to go super ouf of your way to build rainbow, and you're less "punished" for doing so since water can be covered with actually very good subs, and you actually benefit from rainbow privileges : the cross awake will allow Karin Kanzuki herself to be a high damage dealing card, while not requiring to change anything in your play as it only requires to match rainbow (= clear the board, which you always want to do) and match crosses (= activate her leader skill). Ok. So it's not detrimental anymore to build rainbow. Cool. But why build rainbow in the first place. That is a legitimate question you might have been asking for a while now. Among the rainbow privileges there are 2 that are very desirable for Karin Kanzuki : rainbow skill charge and rainbow vdp latent. Rainbow skill haste is pretty straightforward, it helps a ton with skill rotation, and will make some long actives (like Zinogre's Fujin) come up much faster. Some cards with long-ish AS can also become decent inheritance bases if you can make good use of their skill haste, which is nice too. Heck Reeta is a great sub able to virtually divide by almost 2 the CD of whatever you inherit onto her, and she's unique for that. Rainbow VDP latent however might just be a godsend to Karin. Essentially, it vastly lowers the need for a strong VDP sub and most importantly it vastly reduces the need for this abomination of nature that is triple crosses VDP FUA. How to put it in simple words.... matching rainbow + 2 or 3 crosses + FUA is not super simple, but it incomparably easier than matching 3 crosses, a 3x3 box and FUA. Yet both return about the same damage. Most importantly, one is achievable on a natural board, and is easy and consistent, while for the other a board change/fix is mandatory, and it remains challenging to pull off (there are so many ways to mess up triple cross VDP FUA), while also working very poorly with combo shields. Heck, triple crosses rainbow FUA is doable on a board with not too many roulettes on it, while these can practically prevent you from doing tripler crosses VDP FUA entirely or almost. Rainbow VDP is also practical to slowly lower the HP of a vdp spawn with over 4 billion HP, so that it can be VDP'd with only 1 card dealing cap. Triple/Double Cross VDP FUA simply cannot do that, because each execution will require an active skill. Triple Cross VDP FUA also can't deal VDP damage for both the main and sub attribute of a card if these are different colors (unless you're a madman trying double cross double VDP FUA, which is arguably harder than triple cross VDP FUA, while also dealing less damage lul), while rainbow VDP can. So yeah, rainbow VDP can be pretty neato. It requires however that the rainbow VDPing card deals a lot of damage, which is not an issue thanks to Karin's double cross awake. That's x6.25 base damage per cross, which is decent at best. The trick however is to slap a cross awake equip onto her to boost to x15.6 base damage per cross, which is much better. That's enough base damage to damage cap at 3 crosses + good comboing (which you need anyways to match rainbow). However, as of now, cross awake equips are still fairly rare (and exclusive to JP as I'm writing these words), but more are being added quite fast and some of them -while still very rare- are decently accessible (like green Zhuge equip , or PAD Academy Kio equip , which can be traded for (we'll come back to these in the sub and equip section of the guide)). Ok all of that sounds pretty cool, but then how about just using a VDP active skill ? Well that is very valid too, and actually for the super high end stuff like the late Shuras and Alt Shura, you hardly can do without these (Gilles Legato typically won't let you rainbow VDP him to death). But for most of the non-alt-super-high-end-latest-extreme-whatnot-challenge, a single VDP card with high VDP power can still do the trick, and thus rainbow VDP (as well as vanilla VDP) still work wonders, and frees up a slot for an active skill/sub. And that's kinda a luxury when you still have so much to consider when building the team. But then again, VDP AS are still an absolutely valid approach ! Especially when we have fast VDP AS subs that are actual good subs for Karin like absolut unit Dyer or -in a lesser extent- Aljae . And even without the fast ones, it's absolutely valid to build rainbow with rainbow VDP and use an AS VDP to deal with the super tanky stuff we find in higher challenges. There's no right or wrong way to approach this. Only options. Rainbow VDP is just an option among the VDP options we have in 2021 PAD ~ And of course, guard break will be useful here and there too. On that matter, I would like to highlight the existence of the Wicked Key of Sloth . It will significantly lower your card's HP (extremely bad as -5k base HP is -20k HP after mult) and RCV (not so bad) in exchange for providing a guard break awakening, and a very desirable DKali board + awoken bind clear + unmatchable clear active skill. Look, I don't know how frequently damage void spawns also have high defense, but if that's not a thing yet, it will eventually be, there's no doubt about this. Might as well be prepared. Moreover, it is practically impossible for Karin Kanzuki to reach 5k personal HP, so if she's your rainbow VDP card, slapping it onto her (or another rainbow VDP with less than 5k HP) is a good move, as it'll reduce the HP malus. I personally wouldn't do that, but be aware that this option exist :9 A "downside" however of building rainbow will be addressing orb-generation. With a light/fire focused team in which you don't bother with all attributes and matching rainbow, you can have focused skills dedicated to helping you maintain high light/fire supply. There are light/fire orb changers and board fixers, alongside a lot of really good board changes to create large amounts of light and fire orbs. Skyfall buffs are very good too. But for rainbow, it's more complicated. Of course, a natural 7x6 board usually have 2 crosses + all the colors and hearts, but 2 crosses will eventually start to be not enough to deal with enemy HP pools (unless you're running absolut unit Firo ), and active's such as Karin Kanzuki's will target non light/fire/hearts, and thus, dramatically reduce the amount of water/wood/dark orbs when used. We have a problem here. High light/fire supply actively fights against matching rainbow. There are ways around this however : Board fix actives skills (such as Rathios equip (which remains to this day mind boggingly good for Karin Kanzuki holy shit)) can be excellent assets, as they produce a predictable amount and shape of orbs. This will allow you to decide exactly when they should be used so that they do not remove colored orbs that you need to achieve rainbow. Increased light/fire skyfall active skills (such as Ryumei or Ferule ) will greatly help maintain light/fire supply while not erasing other orbs. Your odds of having rainbow on the board will be slightly worse, but not by a large margin (assuming proper cleaning of the board), which make these very desirable, albeit still a tad rare for the reliable ones (Bradamante's AS remains unparalleled still). DKali board changes are still usable and desirable. But maybe consider using another active skill on top of them to add some light/fire, because they will consistently make triple cross boards or lesser. Having 2 crosses out of a DKali board is extremely common and quite reliable, but 3 cross is much rarer. I have never had a 4 crosses DKali board. Addressing orb generation is going to be an important matter for rainbow Karin Kanzuki. And because it's likely that you will want to stall more often for good natural boards, you'll want to build your rainbow Karin Kanzuki to be tanky, with high HP and maybe good shielding. Lastly, I almost forgot to mention it despite how critical it can be : unmatchable orbs are going to prevent you entirely from using rainbow VDP, and for that reason you need a reliable unmatchable clear active skill. Lately a lot of cards with Odindra type active skills are also receiving the unmatchable clear treatement, hopefully that'll make things easier for you. Another way however to deal with that is via the unmatchable clear latent awakening : using it on a card makes it so that for every TPA awakening and TPA matched, 1 turn of unmatchable orbs is removed. Of cours, using light or fire orbs to remove unmatchable status is out of the question, so similarly to L-unlock, you'll absolutely want to rely on off-color TPAs for this purpose. Funnily, for some reason, the vast majority of decent TPA subs with an off-color attribute.... are water. Typically Wedding Scheat is great for that purpose. ALRIGHT. Enough with rainbow Karin Kanzuki. This is still a proof of concept anyways so far, and will require lots of testing. But in the meanwhile, back to vanilla good old bicolor Karin Kanzuki. - General team design - TL;DR : To build her team you want (not necessarily rainbow, but this applies to rainbow still) Time extend subs. Bare minimum would be 10secs. 13secs starts to feel ok. Aim for 15+secs for consistency in matching (ofc, adjust it to your level of play), and add more if you're still not comfortable. No shame in having 22secs of matching time if that allows you to be consistent. SHIELDS At least 1 reliable and fast 50%+ shield active skill. At least 1 75% shield active skill. Doesn't have to be fast, but you don't want your only 75% shield to be 15+ CD. 35% is very usable too, but a lot of stuff will require at least 50%. A couple time extend active skills Karin Kanzuki herself addresses that, having 1 more remains desirable Awoken bind clear is still extremely important At least 1 sub with a L-unlock with either of their main/sub color not light or fire. Probably a RCV stick (unless you run a lof of team RCV+ subs). Subs with : hazard clear (AS or latents awakenings) or resistance (awakenings) Priority for hazard orbs is jammer, then poison, then blind. Tape and cloud are equally important to address utility (think Fujin for example) If you're doing high challenges : High HP subs Subs with team HP+ awakes If you're building rainbow : subs with rainbow privilege (guard break or rainbow skill charge) at least 1 high damage card, preferably using cross awakes (other offensive awakes -besides maybe 7c- are undesirable), or maybe killers/7c. Karin Kanzuki herself addresses that, having 1 more remains desirable for the super latest challenges like Alt Shura 2 and Shura 3, or any dungeon with a VDP spawn with more than 4 billion eHP which. For orb generation : favor skyfall buffs and board fix AS over orb/board change AS. DKali boards are still very important. Having at least 1 will make things easier for you. high durability (high HP/reliable shields) reliable unmatchable orbs clear (active skill or sub with lots of TPA) If you're not building rainbow : a reliable (preferably fast) VDP active sub, or a sub with high VDP power (think 2-3+ VDP awakes). good lightf/fire orb generation OR high durability (high HP/reliable shields) L-Shields exist and can come in clutch in extremely specific scenarios (5% shield with 200k HP is already 10k HP worth of shielding). Regarding damage awakenings, of course off-color L-unlock is kinda mandatory, and you want a high VDP power card to deal with VDP in the smoothest possible way. Cross awakes are good (and desirable for building rainbow) since they'll activate while you activate your LS. Similarly, 7c/10c, killers and dangos are ok since they passively activate, but don't try to actively sneak these in. You'll be busy enough getting the appropriate features in your team, if you try to add "high damage subs" to the list you're just adding a layer of difficulty to this already very hard to build team. Ban any light/fire L-Unlock and TPA. Forget about damage enhance AS. Spoiler: GENERAL TEAM DESIGN It used to be that Karin Kanzuki's favored playstyle was essentially : stalling on a safe floor monitoring skill rotation and waiting for a kill window kill one-shot every following non-safe floors until reaching a safe floor rinse and repeat from step 1 So hit-and-run-and-stall, kinda. This was due to her glass cannon nature, not allowing her to withstand big damage, forcing her to carefully pick her fights so that she can actually handle some non-lethal damage ; thanks to her RCV mult, anything that didn't one shot her was usually simply unable to kill her period, granted average RNG and appropriate board cleaning (heart starvation on hazard-less 7x6 boards isn't really a thing if you properly clean board each turn). Thus, it was mandatory to : research the dungeon to know what floors are potentially safe to stall on, figure out at what HP threshold you have enough floors to stall so that your skill rotation function build your team to meet the HP threshold. All that while addressing dungeon mechanics and hazard resistance, of course. This.... is still true to some extent, of course (new challenges keep dealing more and more damage), but vastly less of an issue thanks to her newly HP obtained mult. Simply put, Karin Kanzuki used to beg for team HP+ to simply exist in anything past, say, Arena 3 (?). Else, with her low personal HP and lack of shield/HP mult LS, she just didn't have the defense to run challenging stuff. That is still true to some extent. Just vastly less. Her glass cannon usual self forced her to build with a very restricted sub-pool (for high end challenges, that is), but now, her sub-pool and team design is much more flexible (and especially if you're not doing the highest finest latest challenges). It is important however to acknowledge : You still want to be able to stall. You still want to contest hazards. You still want to be consistent. These are still the 3 pillars of building Karin Kanzuki's team. But her HP mult now allows her to exist and stall more easily on more floors, without requiring a million team HP+ subs and exclusively very high HP subs. her not being stuck with team HP+ subs all the time allows her to cover hazard resistance more easily, and not immediately be threatened to death when hazards aren't immediately cleared. her not being stuck with team HP+ subs all the time allows her to have more TE sticks subs. What I'm trying to convey here is the nuance, the difference between "mandatory" and "very desirable". So how do you build Karin Kanzuki ? Well here's the thing. Karin Kanzuki's team building is now much closer to "general team building" (minus the high damage subs), even for non cross leads. But not because Karin's team building has changed, but because general team building """""is changing""""". It's funny because in a sense, general team building looks a bit more like Karin's team building : gor high challenges all teams want very high bulk anyways, resist tons of hazards, and be able to be consistent with LS and dungeon mechanics. She need however to cover defense a tad better, since she's not durable as other modern leads. Point is : you may have notice the upsurge of subs with several team HP+ awakes these past few months/years ; well it's because modern duneon encourages you to have these with you since incoming damage is getting higher and higher. These are not for glass cannons only anymore. For lower challenges, all teams can allow themselves to be flexible, since there are less damage to handle (and to deal), and less hazards. Same for Karin Kanzuki. So building your team will essentially be very similar to build most other teams, but with less focus on damage, and more focus on durability. Kinda like her past self, but with less extreme need for team HP+. Ok, but in practice ? Alright, I believe time extend remains your #1 priority, or almost. There are more hazards and mechanics than ever, and we're only going uphill on that regard ; matching time is going to be vital. Heck, in general, matching crosses takes time, and navigating a 7x6 board takes time. You're not getting away without a comfortable amount of matching time ("comfortable" depends on how good you're at this, for me comfort starts at 15secs). Whether or not you build rainbow, you will want to be consistent with everything. Resolve are everywhere, so assume you'll need to FUA every other spawn (crosses don't have access to auto-FUA just yet (no, we don't talk about base Kyori here è_é)), and with increasing enemy HP pools you'll need more crosses in average to make progress in recent dungeons. Karin Kanzuki used to get away pretty nicely with 2 crosses on average and 3 for tankier stuff (even in AA2 back then), but that just won't do nearly as much today, and you'll 3+ crosses a lot more frequently. Comfortable matching time will help you achieve that, as well as time extend active skills. Thanksfully Karin Kanzuki herself has an AS that achieve just that, which helps a ton to secure these complex solves (if you have 15secs of matching time, Karin's AS boost that to 22.5 secs), or just get rid of annoying -80% matching time and whatnot. Of course, you'll need to be mindful of your HP. I might sound like a broken record, but while she has very precious HP mult baked in her LS now, she's still kinda on the lower end of the bulk spectrum ; without a shield LS, and with tiny personal HP, Karin Kanzuki remains a relatively not tanky lead, and addressing that is still to this day a high priority too if you plan on doing high challenges. There are 2 main ways to go about this. Team HP+ was a godsend for her pre-buff self. Each team HP+ increases by 5% your team's base HP (not including HP+ badge), and even if they scale additively their impact escalate quite quickly. Let's look at an example. Let's say the average card in PAD has 7k HP. With 6 in your team that's 42k base HP. Now Karin Kanzuki has 2 team HP+, and if each sub in your team has 1, that's 8 of these, which is +40% base HP, boosting your HP to approx 59k. A boost of 17k HP, simply by having 8 team HP+. With Karin's LS that going from 164k HP to 236k. A significant boost in bulk. This difference might not matter a whole lot for some old-ish challenges, but for modern stuff that's the kind of boost that make or break a team. HP thresholds for high challenges content are still a thing. So yes, team HP+ is still highly desirable to her. Especially considering how Karin Kanzuki absolutely doesn't have 7k personal HP. And then, there's shielding. To some extent, any lead without a built-in shield needs some active shielding eventually. Karin Kanzuki is no exception. Quite the opposite atually, since it also helps with her HP issues. Lethal gravities being a thing (any gravity beyond 100% is lethal without damage mitigation) makes it mandatory to have at the very least 1 reliable shield in your team. Really, nothing beats the joy of watching an ennemy deal exactly your amount of HP in damage, and then realizing it was a gravity. Shielding address that. If you have only one the amount you want is debatable, but I believe for modern recent content you likely want 75% (for the latest dungeons you simply cannot do with only 1 however). That doesn't mean 35% shields are bad. In fact they even protect you from a 150% gravity, but they doesn't work well for enemies that do gravity + attack in a single skill set (typically, Reincarnated Rushana's 99% gravity + 81k damage can be survived with a 50% shield and 81k HP, but with a 35% shield you need about 151k HP). Point is, bigger shields are better. But you can do with lesser shields if you researched the dungeon. Lesser shields are also usually quite faster which is good for rotating them regularly. On that matter I would like to rise awareness on the fact that 2 Enochs subs can permanently cycle their AS, giving permanent 35% shield and x1.5 move time, which elegantly address both shielding (you're immune to 150% gravity) and move time. On the same vein, Reeta (which is far hard to get) can singlehandedly do that, so that's pretty neato. Finally, high HP subs remain very desirable too. If you have 2 subs achieving essentially the same things, picking the tankiest one is rarely a bad idea. Ok. Moving on. Let's take a moment to acknowledge her potential need for a RCV stick. This might sound weird to veteran Karin Kanzuki players, as she used to be able to out-heal pretty much any amounts of poison with 3 hearts and some combos. But she has a HP mult baked in her LS now, making her RCV "normal" in regards to her HP. Even poison asides, you should expect to get the average Karin team to get at least 140-160k HP (and that's like super low, teams for high challenges should aim for 240k+ I suppose), which can barely be healed with 3 hearts anymore. But it can be healed with a RCV stick and heart-enhance awakes . So as weird as it can feel, these are now desirable for Karin Kanzuki. You don't need a lot, you just need some. A sub with decent RCV and 2-3 of these are enough. Note that the RBGD valkyrie earrings equips ( etc) have 2 of these and can make any high-RCV sub a RCV stick. Ok, then there's the utility. Well, surprise, hazards still suck for Karin Kanzuki ! Thanksfully hazard resistance has become increasingly easier to address (which makes sense considering there are more hazards to resist) with some cards having a precious 100% hazard resist awake ; get these if you can. If you can't address everything priority should be : Jammer, simply because bombs still exist and are designed to take priority in gameplay : they will punish you hard if they don't take priority in your mind and you don't immediately clear them. Remember : they cannot be cascaded, deal massive damage and completely erase part of the board. Bomb skyfall doesn't exist (thanks the stars) so if you have 100% jammer resistance, bombs will never be a problem. Poison resist, because Karin's RCV isn't gigantic anymore in regard to her HP (since you have a lot now), so mortal poison can therefore kill you easily :> Use of a RCV stick can help with that too. And finally, hard blind is definitely annoying but can be played around, and most importantly it's not a direct threat (unless there's a mechanic involving solving the board with blinds). The cross awakening also removes blind skyfall, which is very helpul in some of the highest challenges. Regarding tape and cloud, you want to resist both, period. Tape will prevent you from performing kill solves, and some spawns just are so freakin savage with clouds lul. I would like to emphasize that for L-Unlock (which you want in your team) you do not want under any circumstances to match a light or fire L while playing. Never. Light/Fire L-Unlock use the exact same ressources as crosses for Karin's LS, and should therefore be prohibited. If you have the orbs to match a fire/light L, match crosses with these, or store them for later. What you should do however is have at least 1 sub which has at least one of their color as not fire or light to be your L-unlocker. Typically, Shamash is an excellent Karin Kanzuki sub, but she mustn't be your only L-unlocker. Remember that equips with L-unlock awakes exist ; slap one of these on a not light-fire / fire-light card to address L-Unlock. Never L-unlock with fire or light orbs è_é Similarly, and for the exact same reasons, TPA awakes can be desirable to remove unmatchable orbs status, but mustn't be used performed with light or fire orbs. The reasoning is the same. If you want to use TPA to clear unmatchables, make them be wood/dark/blue. Not light, not fire. Veteran Karin Kanzuki might wonder how much of a threat awoken bind is to Karin Kanzuki with her newly acquired HP mult. Well it's still lethal simply because team HP+ is still highly desirable (albeit, not mandatory this time around). It might not be immediately lethal though, and what kills you could simply be the lack of matching time to heal, remove hazards or deal damage. But it can also be that loosing your team HP+ awakes below safe HP threshold (it's very easy to go below since Karin doesn't have a shield). So you still actively want reliable awoken bind removers. Several of them. Lastly, there are stuff like Fujin, color absorb void (thanksfully there are a lot now) and VDP. Alright. Look. I know I sound like a broken record again, but awakenings that bring only damage aren't inherently desirable for Karin Kanzuki, even post buff. It's not bad per se, but there are so much stuff you want to have in your team, if you also add "damage" to the list you're building your team with a handicap. It's not super useful to specifically go for damage dealers when Karin Kanzuki can just multiply your damage output by 12 simply by matching an additional cross. Especially those who need to be manually activated : TPA, rows and L-Unlock. However, the offensive awakes which passively activate (7c, 10c, killers and dangos) can be useful still : reducing the amount of crosses required for killing stuff is good, period. If you have subs that bring lots of value to the team while also having these awake, don't ditch them because they have offensive awakes ! These are good, especially the dangos (these scale crazy fast). But don't actively try to slot in offensive awakes. Damage is the 1 thing Karin Kanzuki can address without the intervention of subs dedicated to that ; it's nice if offensive awakes are a byproduct of a sub being actually good for other reasons, but do not specifically try to get offensive awakenings in your team. Exception is -of course- Void Damage Pierce. Damage Void is everywhere in modern PAD, and you might not want to damage control your way through them. Reliable access to VDP is critical to any team nowadays (which is why I think rainbow VDP can be very good), and since it messes up so much with matching crosses (* loud triple cross VDP FUA noises in the distance *) it is important that your VDP card carries the kill. Thus, high VDP power is very desirable. Back before Karin's buff, I used to kill stuff with triple-cross tier HP pools (so several hundreds millions HP) with only double crosses VDP because my Xmas Ilmina has 3 VDP awakes. That's the kind of VDP power you want. It reduces the amount of crosses you have to match while matching VDP (which is good because the VDP box and crosses kinda dislike each other). For the same reason, if you're building rainbow the cross awakening is also an exception and it is very desirable to have a card with lots of them to rainbow VDP stuff easily. But besides the cross awake and VDP, offensive awakenings shouldn't be something you build for. That's a struggle for non color cross teams :9 If you need more power, match an additional cross. If you can't, stall one turn. If you can't, use a shield. If you can't, reconsider your dungeon strategy. If you're stuck, reconsider your team. Karin Kanzuki cannot beat everything that is for sure, but if the thing that's causing you trouble is damage, you might be approaching something wrong. Protection (HP, shield, hazard resistance), fingers and utility are what you look for in a Karin sub. As for the matter of orb generation, it is easier to address for a non-rainbow build of Karin's team, but the way you want to approach it depends. If you can build a very durable team (think good 300k+ HP or something along these lines maybe, with a reliable RCV stick (while writing these lines, my pre-buff team has 87k HP, so that's 348k when the HP mult arrives)) you can allow yourself to stall more for good natural boards. That's a strat that's been very successful for pre-buff Karin. You'll need to be careful and have good dungeon knowledge so that you don't greed too much, but having less subs dedicated to orb-generation will free room for some other utility. If not, you might still to want to favorise skyfall buffs still. For rainbow Karin it's kinda essential, but even for non rainbow it can be very good as a single active skill can address light/fire supply for several turns, whichwill be very helpful with both consistency and skill rotation (it also decrease the need for multiple orb generation AS, which is good because there are a lot of stuff that you want in your team). Board fix will also obviously be very good, as well as board changes (although these are less consistent), especially for moments when you need to manually VDP (1 VDP + 1 cross of the same color is already 14 orbs, i.e. more than 1/3 of the board). However, Karin Kanzuki already being an excellent orb changer herself will vastly diminish the need for additional orb changers. You do need some more, don't get me wrong, but maybe favorise skyfall buffs or board changes, since Karin already orb changes. You can also do both, because why not. In any case, it is important to remember that the average 7x6 board does have 2 crosses, and often more. You can even be lucky and get a quad cross natural board. And if you're experiencing unlucky RNG, a single turn of stalling is usually enough to address that. Thus, while still important, the matter of orb generation is less of a problem than it can look. - Other advices - These are still important. It just didn't feel right to include these in the other sections ~ Spoiler: OTHER ADVICES Karin Kanzuki has access to Super Awakening. I'll try to help you choose which one you want. Remember that your helper likely has super awakening too ! Pick Cross Awakening if you build rainbow and wish to use Karin Kanzuki herself as your VDP card. Pick the skill boost if you have a transforming sub for which it is critical that they transofrm early (Aljae for example), or a critical AS needed very early in a run. If you can avoid picking skill boost, avoid it. You simply cannot go wrong with Super Time Extend. If you don't need the cross awake for rainbow VDP and you don't critically need the skill boost, Super Time Extend is extremely valuable. Regarding badge, any of HP+ and TE+ badges bring equal value to Karin in any dungeon that is not super-duper-high-end-latest-content-alt-I'll-throw-the-sun-at-you. If you're not running these you can probably pick whichever helps you to run Karin more consistently. TE+ if you're low on fingers, or HP+ if you're low on HP (HP+ badge counts as 3 team HP+ awakes). If you're running the super high end stuff, HP+ badge is kinda mandatory though. The damage in these dungeons is just mind boggingly high. We'll dig into subs later a bit later, but since since addressing HP is still so important to her, HP+ and HP++ latents awakenings remain invaluable to have on your big HP subs. Anything that has 7-8k HP or more are excellent candidates to receive HP++/HP+ latents ! There are a lot of desirable latent awakes you want in your team. If you can have subs with 8 slots that should come very handy. Here's a (non exhaustive ?) list of useful latents : Leader swap resist ! It used to be that Karin's LS has no defense, which made it ok-ish for her to get leader swapped since the team would likely gain some bulk (a HP mult and/or a shield) out of it, but not anymore ! She's the key to her own survival, and unless you use subs who exclusively have excellent 50%+ shield LS, you do not want to get leader swapped this time around ! Rainbow resistance latents. You don't need those that give 2.5% (resistance + latents), you can do with the 1% latents just fine. The point is to protect you from a 100% gravity. That way you won't need an AS shield to survive these. If you cannot have 1 resist of each color (e_ê) resisting dark and water is kinda high priority, as you can run into Zaerog or Alt dark Agni relatively "early" in the high challenges (Zaerog in the early Arenas, Alt dark Agni in AA2 if I recall correctly), and they both have a 100% gravity. You still need a shield AS to survive any 100%+ gravity though. Ena will kill you without a shield. You have been warned. As I mentionned earlier, if you build rainbow, Karin Kanzuki can be the rainbow VDP card, and you can slap the VDP latent onto her. It can be someone else. Poison surge and jammer surge resist. You'll have to run some hard dungeons to get these (or they can be traded for), and I believe they'll be invaluable ~ I recall that 2~ years ago one of the biggest barrier to running AA3 with Karin Kanzuki was Hinomitsuha's savage poison skyfall debuff OTL. If you go the RCV stick route (which you should), RCV latents are very good ; 3 of these will essentially double the card's base RCV. Kinda nuts. Removing roulettes (spinning orbs) can now be done with an active skill or via use of the recover bind awakening . If you have one such card, it can be very good to use the roulette clear latent awakening (which you still get in a hard challenge, but oh well). This will free a precious sub/AS slot in your team ~ I mentionned it specifically for rainbow builds, but it still applies to non rainbow (bicolor focused) builds : we can clear unmatchable orbs status with the unmatchable clear latent awakening, by matching TPA, which makes this latent potentially desirable too. Of course it has to be off-color TPA so that you don't waste your precious fire/light orbs. And of course, you can hardly go wrong with some Skill Delay Resist. Except maybe for a couple very extremely specific case, killers and Attack+ latents are wasted slots in Karin Kanzuki teams, as your main source of damage should always be crosses. Karin Kanzuki, when paired with herself, damage caps all light/fire main attributes in the team at 4 crosses. You won't cap fire subs if you do 3 light cross and 1 fire cross, and vice versa, but 2 lights + 2 fire is damage cap for all subs, even non-7c subs. With some additional comboing you'll hit cap with all fire/light main and sub attributes too. When paired with herself or another "x3 per cross" pairings such as Kenshin or Nemain, Karin Kanzuki adds more than 1 digit of damage per cross matched. It is definitely an unreliable way to control your damage, as 7x6 skyfall are very much a thing and will ruin your day, but it gives you a vague idea of how much crosses you can match to not pass a Damage Void/absorb threshold. Like, a damage void at 10M can't be dealt with at 2 crosses. This is going to sound dumb, and very not specific to Karin Kanzuki, but when running high challenges, dungeon knowledge is going to be key. Running harder stuff will require that you know what you're doing and when. I shall add some dungeon guides when I'm done running them myself. But yeah, researching dungeons will help tremendously. To give you an idea of how tight the skill rotation and strategy can get, take a look at the part about AA2 on my previous guide on Karin Kanzuki 1.0 (remember, that was 2 years ago, we didn't have a lot of practical stuff we have now). L-Shield isn't a desirable awakening for Karin Kanzuki, but it can however get you out of a bad spot. It'll protect you from 100% gravity, which is cool, but most importantly it can allow you to meet an HP threshold. I mean, eventually you'll run into a spawn that deals just a bit too much damage, and your skill rotation is 1 turn away from being good ; and then you remember that 5% of 200k HP is 10k HP, and it might be what you're missing to tank a hit on a spawn which you initially deemed not safe. I don't know, it's an extremely specific scenario, but point is, L-shield (while still bad awakes) is still shielding. Extremely niche shielding, but shielding still.