Fist of the North Star represents a significant letdown after what was an exciting collab run with Final Fantasy and Bleach. Part of this is due to just getting it a few months ago in October, but is escalated by the fact that the buffs and new additions are underwhelming. There’s not much exciting in this REM and I fully expect players to save their stones until it gets the buffs it deserves.
Just going to be blunt here: there’s not much to add to the review I just did in October so don’t be surprised to see some copypasta. I did try to revamp reviews for updated cards, or cards whose position in the meta have shifted, though. To get a better picture of these cards, I suggest going back and reading the old review.
I’m actually fairly excited about Kaioh, it’s just unfortunate that the rest of the REM blows, making rolling for him dubious at best. The gem of his abilities is his leader skill’s auto-attack. I’ve run Cecil on JP for a while now and perhaps my most valuable friend always has a Vajrabhairava up which allows me to steamroll any dungeon with perseverance monsters (for those not familiar with the interaction, an auto-attack will trigger after perseverance but before the monster can act, effectively nullifying the ability). There are so many annoying monsters with this ability — Ilsix, Sherospada, Volsung, Kagutsuchi… the list goes on and on — that having an easy way to deal with them is invaluable.
There are plenty of other cards with the auto-attack ability, but what sets him apart from something like, say, Aoshi, is his flat 36x ATK multiplier which is bolstered by dark’s strong leader selection. Aizen, Yomi Dragon, Dark Athena, Ichigo, MHera; he basically pairs seamlessly with any dark-based leader. Once you factor his no skyfall buff, you also have a great farming leader. Perhaps his abilities are put to best use in Legendary Snowy Valley (what do you farm there? ATK latents and BOdin Tamas). His no skyfall buff makes Starling a predictable encounter and the auto-attack makes Ilsix a joke. Here’s videos of him paired with Ichigo in co-op (although Fujin’s skill up fodder is used to deal with Starling) and Aizen in solo.
Outside this niche, Kaioh is pretty bad. His awakenings are embarrassing for a 6-star, making him a poor base sub. His active is powerful as it guarantees 10 orbs, but in most cases a mass orb change with a some RNG but less cooldown is more desirable. While a flat 36x is indeed strong, in the endgame he’s heavily reliant on his leader pair to carry the burden, both on offense and defense.
Something should be said about his incredibly high HP, though. At 7,503, he has the highest HP in the game, almost 500 more than the next highest (Xiu Min, 7,011) and about 750 more than the next highest that is inheritable (revo Orochi, 6760). This represents a 750 HP boost when inherited on a dark card. This makes him particularly intriguing for HP-challenged teams like Aizen and Yomi Dragon; it’s an added bonus that his active plays rather well on their teams, representing the possibility of activation across two floors for both and a double cross for Aizen.
In a way Kaioh is like Tifa. Tifa is a much better sub, but as a lead, there’s very little incentive for someone to roll her. The situations where they’re useful are limited and when you need access to their abilities, you can just use a friend’s. I don’t see many people rolling for him (but I do hope some people actually do so we can all benefit from their bravery).
Edit: There are some perseverance monsters auto-attacks can’t deal with. Always check enemy defense, I guess.
FotNS returns once again and once again Yuria receives no buffs. There was once a time when Yuria was a respectable glass cannon, but considering the new golden standard is Aizen, Yuria is rather pathetic in comparison. However, considering how stingy GungHo seems to be with this collab’s buffs, I’m not even sure she’d regain relevancy even if she did receive some.
There once was a time when Raoh was my overall favorite leader in the game. Be it for farming or the endgame, you could put together a competent team for him despite the type restriction of his leader skill; and this was before co-op or skill inheritance. The team’s time extends made matching a pleasure and chaining hastes felt extremely rewarding. Should you need the RCV, pairing with Awoken Freyr was a great option.
Fast forward to today and Raoh is rather embarrassing (which is a trend in this collab). All you have to do is look at Krishna and see how bad things are: Krishna weighs in at 2.25/45.56/2.25 where Raoh has a type-restricted 2.25/36/1. Sure, there are differences in their activation conditions, but I’d gladly take a nine-orb activation (three separate fire matches) and the better multipliers over an eight-orb match (which also prevents you from making three-row boards). They’d have to boost his multiplier into the 40s along with a six-orb activation for me to consider using him again; considering Yamamoto hits 100x for a row, I don’t think this is asking too much. Despite his relative shortcomings, he’s still a fine lead, just not something you’d be excited to roll.
Raoh did get buffs, but the extra dark row is confusing and almost insulting; there wasn’t even any use for the first one! However, a fire sub with four rows and a hasty, hazard-clearing orb changer does have it’s uses. I’m just sad we’ve reached a point where he’s a better sub than leader.
Let’s face it, Kenshiro has always been a pathetic leader. Last time, I compared him to being a bad Durga and I think that still holds true even post-buff. GungHo has done so much to shore up some of his weaknesses, but it seems that no amount of small buffs will overcome the futility that is his active skill. The extra SBR is handy, though, as you’ll no longer have to worry about hitting 100% while also meeting the type and rainbow restrictions. This means you can run subs like Set and Rozuel while not having to force multiple SBR subs like Freyr. The extra TPA and ATK means Kenshiro can do much of the heavy damage lifting himself, meaning you have some leeway to use off-color or more defensive minded cards. And, of course, the extra time extend is always welcome for a rainbow lead. Just a few awakenings improved him significantly from last time, but that’s not really saying much.
As a sub, he has some utility as a defense void that is good offensively, but outside utility situations his long cooldown makes him awkward to utilize as an inheritance base. With the increase of orb change actives that have lasers attached to them, Kenshiro looks bad by comparison.
Toki has always been in an awkward position. First, it was because he didn’t get his ultimate until after Ken and Raoh. Now he suffers from the underpowered nature of the entire REM. Much like Raoh, his multipliers compare unfavorably to today’s best leads. Much like Ken, he has a utility active with a long cooldown which isn’t something you necessarily want two of on the same team. Just comparing him to Aizen should tell you everything you need to know. Their awakenings are strikingly similar, but Toki is about 16 times less potent offensively (and has a type-restricted max multiplier the same as Aizen’s element-restricted lowest). Not everything can be Aizen, but we’re not in 2015 anymore, either.
His sub potential is rather low. It doesn’t help that water’s best leader, Summer Myr, is bind immune and that the element has some of the best bind utility subs in the game. This leaves his one-turn damage void, but in general running or inheriting something like Raphael or Ganesha is much better. He can certainly fill in as an assist skill if you’re missing said cards, though.
Bat’s major attraction is his super-utility active, but it’s questionable how good it really is. Skill inheritance dictates that actives that are great at one thing are better than those that are good at many. Since you’re really only getting use out of one, maybe two of the modes for any single use, you’re left paying an extra cooldown cost for something you don’t really need. In general, it’s better to mix and match assist skills to fit the situation. It’s also questionable how valuable a two-turn awoken skill bind clear is anyways as the two most prominent ones, Folklore and Linthia, are three and five turns respectively. Ignoring that part of his active, you’re basically left with S. Glove Batman’s which hasn’t proven to be essential or irreplaceable in the few months it’s been out.
As a base sub, the only thing he really has going for him is the bind utility, but there are plenty of replacements, especially in light. It baffles my mind that they’d just give him three random dark resists. Not only are they terrible, but that they block future awakening buffs.
For a silver, Huey is a fairly good card. At worst, he’s an inheritable orb enhance, something that only six other wood cards on NA can claim (Parvati, School Athena, My Melody, Green Arrow, WoodBahn, and Sylph). At best, he’s a halfway reasonable base sub for co-op. The value of his column change is questionable, especially in an element that isn’t known for match-five leads, but if wood TPAs make a resurgence he should at least see use as an assist skill. He could also see use on something like Acala. As an assist skill, he compares favorably to Osiris, trading a turn of cooldown for an orb enhance.
What makes Huey good for farming also applies to Shuren in fire, but his prospects have improved a bit since October with the release of Yamamoto. Now that fire has a real farming lead, Shuren is now more valuable than Huey in a base sub capacity. His active doesn’t play well on this team, but he’s there mainly in a base sub capacity. Similar to wood, fire has only a handful of fire orb enhancers (seven others: Horus, Shiva, Sanada, School Theuriga, NY Horus, Mini Hera-Ur, and Shaitan) so there’s some value by way of scarcity.
It should also be pointed out that he has fifth highest ATK out of cards with multi boosts making him a prime inheritance base for ATK-based nukes. His 1,993 ATK is the best in fire. For all elements, he’s behind only Athena Another (2,251), Unit-13 (2,215), Masamune (2,006), and Jize (2,001). Of course, Another Crusader (1,915) is a farmable option with two skill boosts, but the extra ATK matters sometimes and not everyone has the luxury to farm for a rare alternate spawn. For those with a couple Grimmjows looking to make an STTD button team, you can use Shuren with Another Crusader as base subs to button the final floor if you’re lacking the more well known options. If you do happen to roll this collab and are lacking the previously listed cards, or even if you do have them, I’d definitely save a couple Shurens, just in case.
Juza’s main appeal has always been his nuke, but with Grimmjow having both a higher multiplier and hitting all enemies, Juza has lost much of his appeal. This doesn’t necessarily lower his functional value, but those looking to round out their button capabilities would probably be better served to wait for Bleach to return or exploring non-button options.
Basically a worse Fafnir.
A multiple-turn damage enhance certainly has its uses, but they’re fairly common at this point and only boosting damage 50% isn’t exactly awe inspiring. Not even useful as a placeholder sub.
Shin isn’t the worst thing ever, but his laser being restricted to a single target limits the situations where both parts of his active would be useful. There are now plenty of quality lasers to take care of high-defense enemies, many of them hitting all monsters, so Shin won’t see much use in this regard. The other part, spawning seven light orbs, does have some niche use beyond just being a basic orb changer. When combined with a board change like Dios, you can follow up with an active like this to make a five-combo board with two rows, allowing you to easily pass the many four-combo shields in the game.
I’m still disappointed that a silver with an ultimate got treated so poorly. Rei’s still useless as a leader — too much effort for too little return — and without any awakenings buffs he’s an easily replaceable stepping stone. His active is rather nice for a silver, though, combining a hazard-clearing orb change with a small damage enhance, but even with skill inheritance it won’t see much use.
Juda used to be the worst silver in the REM, but the addition of true damage has made him slightly more appealing. He’s currently the only laser that can get under the DMeta Tama’s damage shield in the Sevenzard dungeon.
Shew gets most of his value by being one of the three inheritable board refreshes on NA. The main alternative being Maeda Keiji and the other, Badtz-Maru, being from an obscure collab. With orb lock-breaking actives on the horizon — who are still useful when there’s a locked skyfall debuff — orb refreshes lose some of their unique value.
FotNS once had a great selection of silvers, but Thouzer is perhaps the only one that has retained his value. He’s pretty much irreplaceable as a farming combo enabler. Last time, I pointed out his ability to easily bypass a few combo shields (this and this), but he can also be used to bypass seven-combo shields in just seven moves. Any hardcore farmer will want at least one of these. Outside that, though, not much use.
Mamiya used to be the sterling example of what a good silver should look like, but those times have long since passed. She’s still a great card, though, with a solid awakening selection combined with an orb change that also clears jammers. Definitely a competent placeholder sub, but no longer head and shoulders above the competition at the same rarity.
Even at a 100,000 MP price point and with a new ultimate, Rin doesn’t justify her cost. She’s a mediocre bind clearer at best, although her new time extends do make her a little more useful. The real dagger is the inability to be used as an assist skill, meaning those lacking such a skill can’t even look at this as a quick fix. Most players will be better off saving for an MP Dragon. If you really need an inheritable bind clear and have no other options, I suggest waiting for the farmable Ras (coming to NA on 1/20) who should be a sufficient placeholder for newer accounts.
A pretty big letdown. This REM reinforces my opinion that GungHo simply doesn’t know what to do when revisiting old REMs. FotNS used to top out at 5-star rarity and I think they’re having a tough time negotiating the transition to the new 6-star collab paradigm. Final Fantasy and Bleach already had that structure so it’s much easier for them to release cards well balanced for their given rarity. I’d say the recent Eva updates were a good step in the right direction so hopefully they can apply that knowledge to this collab in the future. Considering that it’s one of the few NA gets regularly, it’d be nice if it could be a good one.
With New Year’s and (hopefully) the Heroine REM in the near future, it wouldn’t surprise me to see most people ignore this REM. When the best cards are all niche roleplayers — Kaioh, Shuren and Thouzer — I can’t blame them for doing so. Personally, I can’t justify rolling in this REM, although I’ll probably do some yolo rolls since I’m a degenerate. With New Year’s (Spica!) and Heroine (Ilmina!) on the horizon, I need to save my money for those.