REM Review – Christmas 3

3379 - Holy Night Visitor, GremoryIf GungHo is going to mail in the Christmas REM, then it’s only fitting that I mail in my review.

 

Foreward

I was quite pleased with how the FF Collab review turned out, but due to the holidays I won’t be able to replicate that level of effort for Christmas. It’s a little disappointing, but considering the quality of the REM I don’t think anyone is missing out on much.

An already dismal Christmas REM didn’t get many buffs, leading to further disappointment. However, using recent seasonal REMs as precedent, this was a likely scenario. Halloween barely received any buffs, either, and the new cards were similarly disappointing (but at least they got a new MP card). The lack of buffs can at least in part be attributed to the mid-year buffs that both JP and NA already received, possibly making them reluctant to improve them further. This is a unfortunate trend since these types of events should generate more hype, but it doesn’t look like GungHo is good at revitalizing old REMs.

Another interesting note is that the REM will only be around for a single week in all regions. I’m not sure what GungHo has in mind, maybe it’s just as simple as getting a New Year’s event immediately after, but whatever it is I hope it’s exciting and that all regions get it.

8-Star Gold Eggs

*Grades are given relative to cards of the same rarity (read the criteria here).

Gremory New

3379 - Holy Night Visitor, Gremory Overall Lead Sub Other
A+ A+ A A
  • Shifted to fire, but otherwise identical to dark Gremory except for the following:
    • Has god type instead of balanced.
    • Leader skill boosts god type instead of balanced.
  • Shares all the advantages the original does, including good damage, tankiness and bind immunity.
  • For the most part, can be considered as good as her dark form.
  • The best all-around bind clear option in fire.
  • High weighted stats are good for the assist skill stat bonus.
  • Fire lacks an Awoken Pandora equivalent; Awoken Yamato when?
  • Losing balanced typing means she can’t equip every latent killer type.

Just from a superficial look, Christmas Gremory looks to be a similar tier lead as the standard dark version. If we were to cover the minutiae, there would be plenty of differences to discuss, but for the purposes of this review I think we can safely draw this conclusion off of each team’s three biggest subs. For dark that would be Xin Hua, Pandora and Akechi and for fire it’s Dantalion, Yamato and Sanada. There are certainly differences between the two sets — like Pandora having haste, Sanada having an extra row or Dantalion having OEs — but for the most part they make an exceptional sub core for each version. I don’t think it’s stretch to say that they’ll play out much like Summer Myr and the original; one might end up being definitively better than the other once people have accumulated enough experience using them, but they’re both exceptional leads (although, unfortunately, Gremory isn’t as good as Myr).

While she lacks the quantity of quality awakenings needed to be a truly elite sub, she’s better than a typical bind clearer. Of fire’s bind clerics, only two others generate fire orbs (Guan Yu and Fire Dragon Swordsman) and one other generates heart orbs (Red Riding Hood); she’s the only that does both. Her ability to generate both types combined with good awakenings ensures she’ll always be useful, meaning she could see regular use on even the best fire teams.

So, is Christmas Gremory a worthy 8-star? For the most part, yes. While seasonal 8-stars will always have questionable value relative to their rarity, when compared to her peers Gremory is quite good. Very few others have been proficient as both leads and subs — maybe GKali and June Eschamali — and I think Gremory is a step above.

Sonia

2512 - Holy Night Red Dragon Caller, Sonia Overall Lead Sub Other
B- B- B- A-
  • Can also be bought for 300,000 MP.
  • Now sells for 25,000 MP :^) (up from 15,000 MP).
  • Strong, two-color board change with two-turn haste is particularly valuable in co-op.
  • Can double as a mass orb changer for fire (e.g. Cao Cao) or wood (e.g. Liu Bei) via inheritance.
  • Supplies fire and wood orbs for leaders like Acala and Awoken Ares.
  • Unusually pathetic leader skill even for a seasonal card.
  • Additional awakenings would’ve been nice.

I bought Christmas RSonia for my non-IAP alt over summer and have been fairly pleased with the purchase. I did so mainly for skill inheritance to fill in as a wood mass orb changer until I could acquire better alternatives. Well, that never happened and I’m still using her to fill that role on my haphazard MAthena Arena 1 team. Her two-turn haste has exceeded expectations in co-op, helping to recharge relatively short actives like Spica and Ronove after their inherited skill has been used. This account also has a Cao Cao team that I’d like to sub her on, but she’ll likely remain attached to a Ragnarok Dragon until I roll a spare Liu Bei or Australis.

The circumstances have changed significantly since the time my alt bought her, though. At that time — sometime this last summer for the Christmas in July event — there really wasn’t anything else interesting in the MP shop so the purchase was justifiable. All of the standard MP cards were on the decline or near their bottoms, but now Ragnarok Dragon is a quality purchase and the MP Dragons with their new uuevos are looking like strong options as well. Even if you’re in a situation like my alt where she’d fill a critical role in your progression, I’d give it some deep thought before pulling the trigger. If you main leads like Acala or Awoken Ares where she’d be a good sub or inherit, she’s still a questionable purchase unless you’re swimming in MP.

My personal experiences aside, she’s historically, and still is, a disappointment considering her rarity and cost. She received a small leader skill buff some time back, but is still irrelevant in that regard. The lack of any additional awakenings is insulting, although I guess she’s better off than Halloween BSonia. All in all, I don’t see her being a good purchase for most players and is easily the worst of the 8-stars in this REM. Hopefully New Year’s offers something better to dump MP into, but I’m not optimistic.

Kali Buffed

2511 - Mistress of the Sanctuary, Kali Overall Lead Sub Other
A+ B+ S B
  • Christmas in July: Leader skill boosts all stats by 1.35x for gods and dragons (instead of just HP and RCV; 1.82/65.61/1.82 from 1.82/36/1.82).
  • +700 HP (now 4,025 base HP compared to 3,325 for DKali).
  • Now sells for 25,000 MP :^) (up from 15,000 MP).
  • A premier sub for a premier lead: Ra Dragon.
  • A fine leader skill, but ideally you’d use just Ra Dragon instead.
  • Compared to DKali:
    • Fire main-element is inferior due to elemental weakeness.
    • Dark sub-element is more often a liability against absorb shields.

When RKali first came out, Ra Dragon was relatively new (at least on NA) and not everyone had access to DKali. Even though RKali was an exceptionally rare 8-star, we didn’t fully grasp just how rare that was (our only previous experience was with HKali who was also an MP card) and people still chased after her to fill their holes on a team that was indisputably the best at the time. As one would expect, the circumstances are a bit different now. While Ra Dragon has risen to be one the very best leads again, there are plenty of other strong alternatives including Kaede and the easy to access Myr. There are also plenty of GFE rate-boosting events; in addition to the now normal 4x rates for godfests, we’ve seen 5x and the GFE REM. With easier access to the best teams and DKali being “easier” to get, it’s hard to justify targeting a special REM 8-star.

One advantage RKali has over DKali is her +700 HP buff, but everything considered she’s still inferior. Dark having no elemental weaknesses being the major reason, an advantage that trumps that amount of HP in almost all situations. Two of the best teams she might see use on, Ra Dragon and Ronove, don’t really have HP troubles anyways.

With the introduction of the skill inheritance stat bonuses, DKali can close that stat gap. Inheriting a DKali onto a DKali results in 69 weighted stats (332 HP, 89 ATK, 53 RCV), almost as much as RKali’s natural HP advantage (70). Of course, you can inherit an RKali on RKali to regain the advantage, but how many people actually have multiple RKalis to throw around? DKali isn’t exactly common, either, but there’s just so many more opportunities to get her.

7-Star Gold Eggs

*Grades are given relative to cards of the same rarity (read the criteria here).

Liu Bei Ulimate Evo

3375 - Dragon Hero of the Holy Feast, Liu Bei Overall Lead Sub Other
A B+ A S
  • Christmas in July: Active skill now heals 30% of max HP (changed from 3,000 HP).
  • Leader skill revamped to 1.82/65.61/1.82 for attackers at three or more fire combos (HP threshold removed).
  • Additional 2x bind resistance awakenings.
  • +600 HP and +200 ATK.
  • Vastly improved as a leader, but nothing mind blowing.
  • Stat buffs have improved his prospects as a sub.

In the past, Christmas Liu Bei was in a strange place as not many fire leads wanted TPA subs and for the ones that did, he wasn’t such an outstanding option that would prompt a player to brave a notoriously stingy seasonal REM. The outlook is much better for him nowadays, though. He has more quality leader options now including Krisha, revo Shiva and Awoken Ares (although his continued exclusion from Shiva Dragon teams is unfortunate). His additional 200 ATK also makes him outstanding offensively, allowing him to compete with the best triple prongers in the game, being the third hardest hitting in fire behind Shiva Dragon and revo Kagutsuchi.

He’s also received substantial buffs as a leader. He won’t ever be considered an elite lead, but 1.82/65.61/1.82 exceeds my expectations for a seasonal 7-star. That line does come with it’s share of restrictions, though, the full multiplier being restricted to attackers and requiring three or more fire combos. However, fire does have a surprisingly good attacker pool and leads like Krishna and Sarasvati have proven that orb-hungry activations can still be consistent with the right mix of active skills. He can rely on orb changers with haste, like Misato, or skyfall buffs, like Ares, to supply a steady stream of orbs and he even has good utility options like Cao Cao and Rozuel. His newfound bind immunity is at it’s best in this role, too, as binds will never take away your team’s stat buffs. There’s even the possibility of a full bind immune team based on Misato and Rozuel.

Do these improvements justify rolling for? Almost nothing in a seasonal REM does, especially at 7-stars. Regardless, Liu Bei is now a solid card. And who knows, maybe Machine Goemon will be more like MAthena than MHera or MZeus and this Liu Bei will also end up being a premier inheritance option.

Sakuya Buffed

2510 - Astral Bell Kirin Princess, Sakuya Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B+ C B-
  • Leader skill buffed to 5x ATK for fire, water, wood, and light matches (up from 4.5x; 56.25x for healers from 45.56x).
  • Leader skill was also buffed for Christmas in July, but the above change supersedes it.
  • +300 HP.
  • Now has access to healer-type DKali board changers in GKali and Lightning.
  • Lacks the raw multipliers to be a good leader.
  • Smattering of random awakenings are no longer tolerable considering the competition.

Sakuya’s leader skill has been upgraded to 2.25/56.25/1 for healers, but in a world where top leads are tankier, hit harder and have more forgiving sub pools and activations, she just can’t compete. While seasonal 7-stars have never been outstanding leaders, that’s really the only area Sakuya can possibly excel in, meaning it’s very likely that she’ll never be buffed to a relevant level. I have to believe her being introduced in what was essentially the first seasonal REM at 7-stars is to blame. Since GungHo later decided to put any halfway exciting cards at the 8-star rarity, it’s unlikely she’ll ever receive substantial buffs as they wouldn’t want her to steal the thunder from their moneymakers.

6-Star Gold Eggs

*Grades are given relative to cards of the same rarity (read the criteria here).

Haku Alternate Ulimate Evo

2513 - Snow Star Byakko, Haku Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B B+ B
  • Now has an alternate fire uevo.
  • Christmas in July buffs:
    • Leader skill buffed to 2x ATK when matching five orbs including an enhanced orb (up from 1.5x; 49x from 27.56x).
    • +300 HP and +100 ATK.
  • Fire version increases value through flexibility.
  • Fire version has orb change combinations with cards such as Cao Cao, Ares and Sanada.

Not much has changed for Haku’s dark version; she has her uses, but is still unexciting. She’s mainly considered a sub, although a 49x tricolor lead is still capable of getting you through the late-game. Due to her dark OEs she makes a fine sub for the newly buffed Yomi Dragon; she’d ideally have more HP, but she isn’t exactly a slouch in that department, either. She also works great with Ulquiorra’s damage enhance. There are only five other cards available on NA that have five or more dark OEs (Halloween Karin, Saito Hajime, Eschamali, Halloween Izanami, and Thanatos). Those OE’s also play well with Akechi who conveniently combos with her board change.

Her fire form does have it’s appeals, but isn’t quite as useful as her alter ego. Unfortunately there’s no fire equivalent for the buffed Yomi Dragon, but Napoleon is pretty close and she can still contribute on teams like Krishna even if they aren’t as reliant on OEs. This form works well with Silk, but fire has more five-OE options than dark (eight total, nine if you include Elgenubi from the Heroine REM) giving her less value via scarcity. Her board change combos with Sanada, but isn’t quite as good as the Akechi combo since hearts aren’t generated.

Genie

1782 - Holy Night Divine Elemental, Genie Overall Lead Sub Other
C- B- C- B
  • Christmas in July buffs:
    • Leader skill scaling buffed to 5x ATK for nine combos (up from 3x; 2.25/56.25/1 from 2.25/20.25/1).
    • Additional skill boost awakening.
    • +200 HP and +100 ATK.
  • Niche inheritance applications.
  • Basically a glorified version of a standard REM silver.

2.25/56.25/1? Not bad, could be worse for a 6-star. Restricted to balanced and god types? Still fine. Brutal combo scaling? Well fuck it.

5-Star Gold Eggs

*Grades are given relative to cards of the same rarity (read the criteria here).

Pollux & Castor New

3378 - Holy Night Siblings, Castor & Pollux Overall Lead Sub Other
A- A- B+ B+
  • Respectable leader for a 5-star.
  • A mediocre sub with an intriguing active skill.
  • The split between light and dark diminishes their overall effectiveness as a card.

A 1/42.25/1.69 lead is pretty respectable for a 5-star, even with the match-five and god and machine type requirements. Their biggest weakness might be their lack of HP which is middling for a 5-star and their leader skill has no multiplier. This can be addressed by pairing with different leads; June Eshamali results in 1.5/39/1.3 and fire Pollux is 1.3/42.25/1.3, both respectable sets of multipliers. I can see them helping someone into the late-game, but the lack of damage will catch up to them in the endgame.

As a sub, there aren’t any leads that can take full advantage of their abilities. Light Cecil is likely the closest, requiring both light and dark matches to activate and being able to turn the light column into an easy TPA. Balancile also has potential, but is in desperate need of buffs and looks to be row-based anyways. There’s something to be said about guaranteeing both light and dark activation for match-five leads, but the split nature of their active and OEs will more often be a shortcoming than a strength. For JP, they could be great for Kite teams, assuming he ever gets a relevant buff.

Probably their best application is for skill inheritance on match-five teams such as June Eschamali and Yomi Dragon. The eight-turn cooldown for a single column and one-turn haste is reasonable even if the other column can’t be fully utilized. The light column could actually see use on Yomi Dragon Arena 1 farming teams as a way to get around dark Shieldra absorb shields, but they won’t give you the assist skill stat bonus which plays a key role in boosting that team’s HP. Maybe in the future they’ll get an alternate dark form.

Freyja New

3376 - Goddess of the Sanctuary, Freyja Overall Lead Sub Other
B B+ B B
  • Identical to light ultimate from standard REM except for:
    • Awakening order
    • Fire instead of light sub-element
    • Leader skill 3x ATK affects wood cards instead of balanced.
    • Leader skill boosts 1.35x HP instead of RCV.
  • Solid value for a 5-star, if somewhat boring.
  • Outdated leader skill, but should be able get players into the late-game when paired with something like Liu Bei.

GungHo needed 5-star filler (this REM actually had no 5-stars before this) and what’s better than a straight rehash to balance out the effort put into the new Pollux & Castor. Freyja’s almost exactly the same as her REM counterpart making for a very unexciting card. The addition of killers to the original split ultimates was amazing at the time, but now that plenty of quality killer cards have been released since then their shine has diminished. The few exceptions are ones that have relevant double killers or relatively rare ones like machine, but this version of Freyja isn’t one of them. All damage enhancers look silly when compared to the Gemstone Princesses, but even if you inherit a relevant skill, her awakenings aren’t really worth the effort as all of the recently released wood devil killers — Mito, Halloween Parvati, Ceres Ana, and Wee Jas — are more effective.

Despite my negativity, she can still make noteworthy contributions which is more than most seasonal 5-stars can say. She’s particularly relevant due to the predominance of Liu Bei teams where she can help address devil-filled dungeons. While her damage enhance is lackluster, it’s still good enough to serve as an inherited skill on Liu Bei or even MAthena for those that don’t have better options. In the end, she’s a solid card, but it’s hard not to be disappointed with the lack of creativity.

Hatsume New

3377 - Holy Ritual Ninja Princess, Hatsume Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ C+ B+ A-
  • Like the other seasonal Ninjas, she can potentially be a key farming piece.
  • Orb change (wood to fire) overlaps with Belial, Yamato Takeru, Onion Knight, Kuvia, Elgenubi, Dino Rider–in other words, not difficult to replace.

As with Hanzo, Sasuke and Chiyome before her, Hatsume has potential as an inheritance base, especially because she’s in fire, the element most known for farming (although fire’s farming capabilities are currently lacking compared to water and wood). While she doesn’t qualify fully for Shiva Dragon or Goemon, she can still be used on Yamamoto and Cao Cao. Like her siblings, her main selling points are a short active, two skill boosts and a dragon killer, but unlike them, she has extremely stiff competition. Ilmina, Tsubaki and New Year’s Yamato fulfill similar criteria while trumping her in awakenings so it will come down to her shorter active to determine if she sees any farming play. I could see a situation where you use her inherited skill early in the dungeon, pop a couple hastes, then combo her with Christmas RSonia for a swipeable board for one of the later floors. There’s definitely some potential here, but who knows if it’ll ever be realized.

4-Star Silver Eggs

*Grades are given relative to cards of the same rarity (read the criteria here).

Echidna

2515 - Holy Rites Mistress, Echidna Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B A- B
  • The Christmas healer girls are still some of the best silvers in the game despite skill inheritance taking away some of their value in providing multi-turn delays to elements that didn’t have them.

The Christmas healer girls are great overall value at silver. While their value has somewhat diminished since last Christmas due to skill inheritance — in that delay solutions are easier to access for teams of all elements, but also because they can’t be used as assist skills themselves — they’re still some of the most useful silvers to come from a special REM. While MZeus isn’t all that important anymore, these delays make fielding the Ra carry team all that much simpler due to their skill boost.

Siren

2516 - Enchantress of the Sanctuary, Siren Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ C+ A- B

Alraune

2517 - Christmas Tree Spirit, Alraune Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B A B

Angel

2518 - Sanctuary Messenger, Archangel Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B- A B

Lilith

2519 - Holy Night Witch, Lilith Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B- A B

Ars Paulina

2520 - Sightseeing Sorceress, Ars Paulina Overall Lead Sub Other
B+ B+ A B+
  • Decent leader skill for a silver, can pair with Hermes or Sun Quan.
  • Provides two skill boosts, something that water can sometimes struggle with.
  • Represents a decent damage increase for teams that have few or no OEs.
  • Lack of SBRs usually isn’t a problem in water.

For a silver, Paulina is a fairly respectable leader, bringing a 3.5x ATK bonus that can make an early- to mid-game pair with Hermes or Sun Quan. She’s a fairly good inheritance base, too, with decent awakenings and a short active. She’s lost a bit of value in that regard due to water’s best leads moving away from the match-five mechanic, but she can still serve as a respectable OE stick for teams that are otherwise short of 100% enhanced water skyfalls.

Conclusion

Christmas is the first seasonal REM to return for a third time and confirms an alarming trend: GungHo stinks at revitalizing returning machines. To be fair, the Christmas REM was never all that exciting, but last year fostered hope that they’d keep improving it as the removal of the chibis and other off-theme cards was actually pretty exciting. However, all the returning seasonals this year were busts (Academy, Summer, Halloween) mainly due to the lack of buffs to old cards, but also because most of the new cards were boring. On the other hand, New Year’s and June Bride (and maybe the Heroine REM can be included, too) brought entirely new lineups and were better for it, but maybe they’ll be disappointing when they return next year as well? Maybe this is something only I feel, maybe I can never feel excited about this type of event again, but truly hope that GungHo finds a way to change that.

Anyways, I should probably skip rolling this REM, but as a degenerate I’ll still throw some stones at it. I won’t be rolling for Gremory, though; chasing 8-stars has crushed my spirit and I’m done with it until they release something that’s actually unique and powerful.

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20 thoughts on “REM Review – Christmas 3

  1. I really, really wish they had made RGrem a 500k MP card. I mean, they made BMyr an MP card (and she’s better, at least as a leader), so what gives? Would have at least given red a (somewhat) accessible Heart Cross lead.

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  2. Isn’t one downside of XMas Gremory that potentiak subs have very few time extends, which means you have to move at Reco speed with her?

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      • Yamato has 1 and you forgot Dantalion.

        I think the only good dark sub choice with 2 TEs is Pandora, but you’re more than likely going to use her awoken form instead for the haste. This means fire is generally on the same level as far as movement time. Not having the option is definitely a downside, though, but it’s not a gamebreaker when comparing the two teams.

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        • I roll with 2 xin hua, uuvo panda, and awoken as subs. I justify the uuvo seeing as the 2 TE are pretty strong and I like to be lazy and tpa my way through most a1 floors if I can. Also, since I inherit anaphon onto it to combo with the akechi I inherited on a xin hua, the slightly lower CD is nice. I inherit my second awoken panda onto grem, ishida onto other xin hua to combo with sub awoken panda. 7 TE subs and 5 TE latent on each xin hua for 8 total. I still have those TE on XH from when I played around with her as lead and anaphon sub and compensated for awful TE on the team. Gremory basically has to do what miru does, but you don’t need quite as much TE as a standard miru team (10ish) so I feel 8 was a good number.

          I really would like to see XH uuvo get a couple more offensive awakenings. Right now, 1 TE, 1 row, 1 tpa…pretty meh.

          I’d like to slap some OE on the team, but I’d rather keep akechi inherited on XH for the better body and TE. Considered base ayomi but nothing I’d be all that excited about taking off. Probably one of the xin hua, but eh. Yuki loves his ayomi and awoken doge subs but hard choice for me.

          Kind of a waste of time typing that anyway, though. I hardly touch the team. A lot of times it just feels like a dark miru that takes more work to do the same things. The higher top end damage is often irrelevant. That being said, it’s not really fair or appropriate to compare everything to miru…

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    • That’s a downside of the team in general. Like I said there are differences but from a high level the teams are similar. I’m not going to go over every difference. This wasn’t intended to be a full team analysis. Still, it’s a good point to bring up, especially for people that don’t have “ideal” pieces to work with.

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  3. I usually justify rolling in Seasonal REMs with the mentality of “Well, I’ll just roll until I get all of the silvers” so the fact that there are no new ones this time around is pretty disappointing, but hopefully this means the gold rate will be closer to FF thanks to only golds (and lots of five stars) being added. Unfortunate that there’s a silver hanging out at six star, but what can you do =/

    I’d been planning on spending at least a pack on this REM, even after I saw the disappointing lineup (at least there’s some great art cheerleaders), but after reading your review I’m really starting to reconsider. Hopefully the New Years REM is more exciting, or at least that the Heroine REM and Bleach are coming soon!

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    • Yeah, I’m going to do that with the 5-stars then call it a day. Would love a Grem, but whatever. And lol@genie

      Yeah, this REM is still bad, but the 5-stars do make it better than it may seem. Definitely hoping for a couple Hatsume’s in the off chance shes good. I’m really looking forward to those new machines, too. Good luck with your rolls!

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      • Two silvers (including the freebie) and then a gold! …that ended up being Genie, of course T_T Probably will roll more at some point, but man, what a brutal troll. Karma for making fun of her, I suppose.

        Hopefully you have better luck!

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  4. I could already tell I wouldn’t be missing much the moment I looked the new additions/changes. Predicted Kaede would get the 8* chase variant treatment this time. This season’s token 6* GFE relative, Christmas Gremory, however, does seem really solid, and could become only better depending on what else comes down the pipeline. Though, yeah, the original has so many more on-color + heart changers.

    Pollux & Castor is kind of tempting. I just like the idea of a light and dark column active.

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  5. 3 Rolls including the free one.. 2 Pollux and a Hatsume. Thinking I’m just gonna stop there.
    While I have two Dantalion and all the other fire subs you could want for RGrem.. I’m just not gonna drop $60-120 for the *chance* to get one rare-ass card, on an otherwise-mostly-shit REM.

    Thanks for this awesome review. The format is indeed beautiful.

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