X-Mas REM – Smells like a TRAP
Seasonal REMs have always been very niche in purpose due to limited cards available and the amount of filler cards that would have no place on any team ever. Add on the fact that seasonal REMs extend up to 8 star cards with less than 1% chance of rolling any individual 8 star and you can see how this sounds more and more like a trap.
Let’s start with what the lineup of cards were last year.
Echidna, Siren, Alraune, Archangel, Lilith and Ars Paulina.
If anything, these are some of the better silvers in the seasonals. The first 5 are Menace users meaning they have the same skill as Echidna which is a 3 turn delay. This REM gives you the chance to essentially roll Echidnas for all 5 colors AND they all come with a skill boost, something the farmable Echidna lacks. If you’ve looked at Dacho requirements or other How to Carry guides, the number of skill boosts is very important and if you’re lacking Orochi, this is the next best option. Note: Bride REM also had a Bride Echidna for Light Attribute.
The last card there is Ars Paulina which is a decent Water card featuring a 4 turn Water orb enhance as well as 5 Water OE on herself. However, her stats are quite low at 607 weighted average and she lacks any time extends, rows, TPA, or SBR.
None (but most of the new cards are 5 stars to fill this gap)
Slim pickings here. Haku featuring 5 Dark OE works quite well on some specialised teams such as for Yomi Dragon, especially when considering the pairing with Akechi in the same way the normal Haku pairs with Akechi. However, Haku still does not have the same staggering 7 OE that Eschamali has.
Genie ends up getting an odd set of awakenings that is arguably worse than her normal 4 star REM counterpart. Given they have the same skills, Christmas Genie is nothing to write home about. In the end, the elementals are always very niche and tend to be inherited when actually used.
As leaders, both Haku and Genie are very lackluster. Though, they are decently unique. Haku, like her sisters from the other seasonal REMs, is now a partial rainbow with 5o1e leader skill while Genie gives a straight HP and ATK boost while also having a combo condition for more damage. However, both are relatively bad compared to the multitude of farmable leaders or REM leaders that one has access to.
Sakuya, Liu Bei
Santa Sakuya is a decent rainbow leader but her healer type restriction is hard to accommodate outside of Light Kali which… well… doesn’t cover any extra attributes. Unless you’re planning on filling all your slots with the 4 stars from this REM to cover colors and infinitely delay, you’ll be hard-pressed finding rainbow oriented healer type cards. Otherwise, her awakenings are lacklustre compared to Awoken Sakuya which I feel is the better leader given the unbindable aspect.
Liu Bei has an essentially identical active to Ares, instead converting darks and hearts compared to water orbs. The kicker is that Liu Bei has 2 turns more cooldown compared to Ares, all for a 30% additional heal. That’s right, you’re taking 25% more cooldown for 30% heal on use. I can count the number of times that I needed to double orb change to fire AND needed to heal in one active. The grand total: 0 times. I’m sure that the extra utility could be used in an extremely rare situation but let’s face it, the extra cooldown isn’t worthwhile.
8 stars, the reason everyone rolls
Red Kali is basically just a color-swapped Dark Kali, same skills and awakenings, except Red Kali features a higher weighted stat than Dark Kali. A result of the +700HP buff that Gungho decided to give Red Kali to make her more enticing to roll. While I personally think that having dark as the main attribute of the card instead of fire helps Dark Kali be more relevant for more situations, I can’t help but ignore the effect of 700 HP with the new Ra Dragon UUVO having 2.25x HP. Running 2 Red Kalis instead of 2 Dark Kalis, you’d gain 3,150 HP on a Ra Dragon team.
In the end, Gungho is giving players who like min-maxing an incentive to roll for Red Kalis to have a flexible option for their Ra Dragon teams to run specific dungeons that may require the extra HP or Fire attribute.
Sonia on the other hand has no such spotlight on meta teams. Her primary use so far has been as an inherit for P1 of the MZeus team to farm MHera. This is pretty marginal given that there are other options that work for this purpose and just other teams that are just as efficient for farming MHera. Overall she’s one of the worst 8 stars in all the seasonals, right there with Halloween Kali and Amaterasu.
I’ll make a note of this now since I won’t be discussing Sonia further on, but her effectiveness on Acala is almost nil. About 85% of Sonia boards will produce a 3 cross board for Acala. For comparison, Verdandi boards have about 90%. If you have ALB, she could also be used as an inherit there if you lack other Grass Bicolor boards. Similarly, she’s the only Fire Bicolor that also double hastes (Mori has a similar active but is Water Attribute). Overall the decision to buy her will depend on a lot of factors. Given that I have both Acala and ALB I’d heavily consider investing in her.
Given that in my opinion, Chaku’s best use was on Yomidra, swapping the attributes doesn’t do much for me. It does go in line with adding color swaps to all the Chinese seasonals and I’m assuming Leilan will get one (maybe Light/Red???). On the other hand she can be used on Krishna which is getting a lot of hype given the new evo but again, not something I find that interesting.
However, the new Liu Bei evo is very interesting. It’s essentially a TPA, unbindable Krishna as a leader. However, you’re restricted only to attackers whereas Krishna has all Fire types available. Furthermore, the lack of Skill Bind Resist on Liu Bei influences his choice of subs. Still a nice card to have though.
I would be happy rolling Christmas Liu Bei if he came out of the machine but would not roll specifically for him.
Like I mentioned earlier, there were no 5 star cards last year. However, Gungho is filling the gap for better or for worse.
5 star additions
Freyja, Hatsume, Pollux and Castor
Freyja is honestly extremely underwhelming. You have farmable cards like Yggdrasil that have a 1.5x wood buff for 4 turns compared to Freyja at 3 turns.
She also doesn’t feature any game breaking awakenings compared to her Awoken form of the normal version and is essentially the same card as her normal form.
Hatsume is very underwhelming too but at least slightly different from her comparable Chiyome from the normal REM. She gains a skill boost, SBR and instead of balanced and devil killers, has a dragon killer. She loses 3 blind resists which don’t have big impacts overall. Hatsume is overall pretty unique for a Fire card, given her low cooldown, killer, 808 base RCV and one specific feature of her art. I would not roll specifically for her but again, like with Liu Bei, would not be angry to get her in a roll.
Lastly we have Pollux and Castor. I think liking or disliking this card really depends on whether you want it specifically for the art or not because I can’t think of a single place where I’d want this active / awakening set / leader skill compared to other alternatives. And really, whether you like the art or not depends on whether you consider them siblings by blood and whether you like wincestuous relationships like the one depicted in this art.
La Pièce de Résistance
I saw the trap Fire Gremory in the update and was a bit underwhelmed at first outside of the highly sexualized pose. But then I remembered that for Halloween Xiang Mei the type restrictions changed. So I checked and wow did the adjustment blow my mind. XGrem is essentially everything the original Gremory should have been.
Leader Skill: God & Devil attribute cards ATK x2 on the turn a skill is used. ( Multiple skills will not stack ) ATK x6, reduce damage taken by 35% after matching Heal orbs in a cross formation.
Notice the difference yet?
Dark Gremory is restricted to Devil and Balanced which cuts out a lot of potential cards such as Yomi Dragon and others. Meanwhile, God and Devil is inclusive of the majority of Fire type cards in the game. Those that know me should now by now that I like alternative teams. I spent a lot of time trying to build a TPA Gremory team but gave up. Outside of, say, Gremory / Cecil / Cecil / Cecil / Jize / Gremory, your team would be running so few good TPA cards that it wouldn’t be worthwhile. For the record I only managed to roll 1 Cecil or I actually would have made the team.
Now… as soon as it was announced in JP I started thinking about teams for XGrem. Knowing that Fire has a lot of new REvo cards with TPA, I tried my hand at making a Fire TPA XGrem team.
XGrem / Urd / Urd / RHorus (Sanada) / RHorus
Gremory always had the issue with needing to constantly activate skills to do significant damage. In this case the 2 REvo Horus have 2 OE, 2 TPA and 1 TE each giving a good balance for XGrem while also providing a 4CD base for Sanada (making it 12 turns for Sanada) and a 4 turn spammable fire enhance to activate Gremory’s leader skill (while also giving you 2 extra seconds to match which can help in a lot of situations).
Of course you can build XGrem however you want, whether you run rows like Yamato, Sanada or OE like Dantalion, you’re not nearly as restricted as with the Original Dark Gremory.
Overall, I do not recommend this REM for users needing to fill in their box. At most I’d recommend pulling to get at least one of the Menace users if you’re missing Orochi and if you happen to pull one of the golds, they’re all decent to good (except for a few as discussed) and you can roll again. You’ll normally get at least 1 in the first 3 rolls.
Otherwise, as with all the 8 star seasonals, the chances of getting a specific one are abysmal and now with more mediocre cards being added, rolling specifically for XGrem or RKali is a whale’s game at this point and the 8 stars are where all the good cards are focused.
Or just don’t roll.
Best of luck if you decide to roll and Happy Festivus!