Grave Stormborne, Wind Warrior
Use training, discipline, and the spirit of storm dragons to read your opponents!
Grave lives to improve his skills every day, wondering what limits there are to a person's potential. He's dedicated, serious, and strong-willed. He carries a sword, but he was warned at a young age to "use it only when necessary, and no more." He has no such limit on tapping power from the blue dragons of lightning and thunder, though.
Grave trains alongside his sister Jaina and under Master Midori at his dojo in Dragon Tail Vale. Grave cares little about politics, and instead focuses on individual power. Many expect him to win the Fantasy Strike tournament against the previously undefeated Rook.
OverviewGrave is a very solid character, with few disadvantageous matchups against other characters. Blocking is one of his most powerful options, and his early game block is especially scary, both because of his innate and because if Grave builds a good hand, it can translate into a lot of damage very fast. Grave is very card efficient, with many cards with 6, 7, 8 and 10 damage. More importantly, any pair can become a 12 damage Ace
Grave's weakness is in a certain way blocking, too! While his block is powerful at the start of the game, it quickly starts to lose value. Grave is very card efficient, but is not as good at translating that hand into damage, so continuing to block with a full hand is not going to be exactly great. It will increase your hand versatility with more dodges, counters
But Grave's real major weakness is that his throws are not great. He has few of them, half
Basic gameplanYour fundamental plan with Grave is to use his amazing blocks early on to get a good hand, and protect it with J
Then, build a hand that will generally be based around True Power of Storms
That's the basic plan, but in some matchups and against some players, you'll need to deviate from it. Just keep in mind that this is your most fundamental gameplan.
Attack / Dodge
These are Grave's dodges, and dodges are important mainly because of True Power of Storms (AAA)
As we saw earlier, Grave does not have real problems about building a hand. As a result, trying to block with an 8
If you start with 3456, it's reasonable to try to land that straight. Just be careful about playing different cards just because you want to build up a straight. You will find that by the time you do, you already have a decently sized hand.
As hit confirm cards for AAA, you might prefer 5 and 6, since they mostly beat everything that 3 and 4 would beat anyway. In knockdown situations, people tend to block with even-numbered blocks, so there is some merit to use 3 over 6 as a mixup attack. 2 will outspeed some attacks, and is especially good against people who like to rise from knockdown with their own straights. For the most part, however, 234 are dodges, so the most important decision is generally if you have enough dodges for your True Power of Storms (AAA)
Attack / Block
Basically, these are the blocks you are going to use. If you have them, you will probably block with them.
A good thing about 5 and 6 is that they don't put a pressure on your hand. They are good damage on its own, and very easy to put into throws, such as throwing into 5/6 -> J
Throw / Block / Martial Mastery
This is one of the hardest cards to play. Martial Mastery is a very powerful ability. However, throws are scarce for Grave, and this is his fastest. Against some characters, the choice is actually easy: for Setsuki, Rook or Midori, just use it as Martial Mastery most of the time ; it's not like the speed of the throw is going to do any good. Martial Mastery is especially good against Setsuki, since she does not have many real options in hand in general.
Against other characters, it's going to be a tough decision. A common strategy is to use them early on as throws, and later as Martial Mastery. Only block with this card in the most extreme of situations.
Throw / Block
These Grave throws are kind of slow (especially the 9), but hey, you need throws. Don't block with them if you can avoid it, and be extremely wary of exchanging them for Aces. You really don't want to run out of throws (you probably will anyway :/).
Throw / Block / Mental Toughness
Mental Toughness is a very powerful counter ability - it directly counters regular abilities without needing any additional cost. By keeping 10s in your hand, you can prevent your opponent's most powerful abilities from really threatening you - game-defining abilities like Midori's Dragon Form
Blocking with a 10 is somewhat of a desperation move, and in most matchups, you will only want to throw with a 10 in the most extreme of circumstances.
Lightning Cloud attack (*Lightning Trap)
One of the best things in Grave's arsenal. Lightning Cloud is an excellent early game combat card, especially against grappler opponents - you can get good results by just playing it as soon as possible in the first few turns. Since early game dodges are much rarer than blocks, and since speed 2.4 is very reasonable, you'll rarely regret it.
An early game tactic of "play Jack if you have it, block a lot otherwise" can be surprisingly effective, since blocking is a good counter to what beats your Jack: dodges and early fast attacks.
Later on, you can change jacks for Aces if you really need to, but mostly just add them at the end of throw combos, or even more for esoteric combos like K+K
Dragonheart is a super efficient card that happens to be speed 0.0. If you want to attack, this is generally your best choice. It's also one of the main ways to beat other people's attacks late on, when you don't have dodges, or even in place of dodges. Try to save them for the late game, when attack wars are more common.
Whirlwind attackWhirlwind is one of Grave least powerful cards, but it's still not bad at all! It's 7 damage for a card, and when you have 2, you can do decent throws and less terrible dodges. It's actually pretty reasonable when you need a fast attack, and Queens
Keep in mind that powering up KK for A in a vacuum is wrong unless you want to complete your AAA set. K+K is 14 damage versus a single Ace's 12. Both can be comboed into just as easily. The single Ace is faster, so it will win more as a naked attack, but K+K is two cards, so if you lose combat you only lose half the damage.
True-Spark Arc attack / True Power of Storms attack
One of the best Aces in the game, even if A for 12 damage and AAA 45 (15 damage a piece) is not that impressive compared to other effects of Aces (Blackjack
Sticking to AAA or going to single aces is one of the main valuation decisions for Grave. If the opponent makes your life easy by throwing jokers around, good for you. However, against a lot of players, it's better to save the headaches after a few turns of AAA not finding its way and just start slipping in Aces in simpler ways.
Gold Burst / Rewind Time
Everybody has these! It's a pretty close call between Gold Burst and Combo Escape here, since his Aces are pretty strong. You'll have to make a judgement call depending on the matchup.
How to beat GraveIt's hard to really say how to beat Grave, because it's very character dependent, but the biggest tip is probably to use Combo Escape against him. Grave has trouble translating his hand into damage. If you have a decently sized hand and Combo Escape, make his life miserable in the late game. If you know AAA
Outside of jokers, Grave has problems early on against fast throws and blocks, so use those. If you want, you can open first with something that beats J, or maybe do that on the second turn if you think he is capable of avoiding your first turn's counter to J. For some characters, it's not worth it though. Just block. But Geiger can open J
Outside of that, a block/fast throw mixup is hard for Grave to deal with early on. Later on, replace blocks with dodges. Attacks that only lose against Q are OK too. But really, all of this depends a lot on matchups.
See also: Grave (PS)