Jaina Stormborne, Phoenix Archer
Kick ass, take names, use fire!
Jaina's fiery temper goes hand-in-hand with her fiery attacks. Don't look at her wrong, or cross her brother Grave, or she'll have some words for you, and maybe her knee, too. She fights with a magic bow, strung with fire, and she taps the power of red phoenix dragons.
Jaina often overextends herself in combat, trying things beyond her mastery. This extra spunk can overwhelm enemies, but also results in her own injuries and burns. Master Midori does not approve.
Max Combo: 5
Burning Vigor: At the end of combat, if you attacked, you may return any of your combo cards to your hand other than Queens or Aces. Take 3 damage for each card returned this way.
Burning Desperation: If you have 35 or less life, you may also return Queens and Aces and take 4 damage for each.
Normal attacks: x damage, Speed x.4
Normal throws: 7 damage, Speed x.6, 3 CP Starter, Knocks down
2: Attack 2 (1) dmg, speed 2.6, 1 CP normal // Dodge
3: Attack 3 (2) dmg, speed 3.6, 1 CP normal // Dodge
4: Attack 4 (3) dmg, speed 4.6, 1 CP normal // Dodge
5: Attack 5 (4) dmg, speed 5.6, 1 CP normal // Dodge
6: Attack 6 (5) dmg, speed 6.6, 1 CP normal // Knee Bash: Throw 7+4 (+2 Any) dmg, speed 8.6, Can't Combo
7: Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 7.6, 2 CP Starter // *Unstable Power
Unstable Power: [Draw Phase] Knocked down opponents stand up. You can't play Aces this turn, but you can rotate your combat-revealed attack 180 degrees. If you hit the opponent this combat, search your deck or discard pile for 2 Aces. Otherwise, take 7 damage.
8: Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 8.6, 2 CP Starter
9: Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 9.6, 2 CP Starter
10: Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 10.6, 2 CP Starter // *Smoldering Embers
Smoldering Embers: [Combat Reveal] Whenever the opponent dodges while this card is in your discard pile, they take 2 damage. You can't power up with this card. (It's too hot.)
Jack: Flame Arrow: Attack 6 (5) dmg, speed 2.6, 1 CP Ender // Charged Shot: Attack 8 (7) dmg, speed 4.6, 2 CP Starter
Queen: Dragonheart: Attack 8+5 (+1 Any) (1) dmg, speed 0.2, 3 CP Ender
King: Crossfire Kick: Attack 6+7 (+K+K+K) (3) dmg, speed 2.4, 2 CP Linker
Ace: Letter J: Attack 18 (4) dmg, speed 0.2, 2 CP Ender AA // Red Dragon: Attack 10+9 (+A+A+A) (2) dmg, speed 0.8, Can't Combo
Q: Can I return cards to my hand with Burning Vigor that I discarded to pump up my attacks?
A: Yes. Optional discards to pump up your Queens, Kings, and Aces can be returned to your hand with Burning Vigor.
Q: If I attack but do not hit my opponent, can I still return my attack card (or two cards in the case of my Ace’s "Letter J") to my hand with Burning Vigor?
Q: Can I dodge or throw, then play attacks and return them to my hand with Burning Vigor?
A: No. This ability does not trigger unless ATTACK was your Rock/Paper/Scissors choice in combat.
Q: Does a Joker (Rewind Time) somehow prevent me from activating Burning Vigor?
Q: If I have multiple copies of Smoldering Embers in my discard pile, do they all trigger if the opponent dodges?
Q: If I play Unstable Power, then hit the opponent for 0 damage (after a Combo Escape Joker, or hitting a Bubble Shield Argagarg or Long Range BBB), can I still fetch two Aces?
A: Yes. Hits for 0 damage are still hits.
Note: This strategy guide was written for 1st Edition. Some content may be outdated.
IntroductionJaina is a "control" character. Her main plan is to build up a large hand and become unstoppable. Few characters can deal with a full-hand Jaina. Her late-game power is brutal since Unstable Power
Jaina's most powerful move: Unstable Power.
Attack is clearly Jaina's best option. The ability to buyback cards for a bit of life is amazing, and being able to get card advantage for a low price makes using attacks as combat cards very good.
Jaina's weaknessesJaina has few blocks and throws, and one of her blocks is on her most powerful ability
The common mistake
Most people think that since she has powerful attacks, the best plan is to attack early and often. This doesn't actually work well because she lacks good throws, especially early on, so there is little to prevent the opponent from spamming blocks. As you desperately throw to force them to open themselves to attacks, you realize you have no blocks left, and are looking at a hand full of dodges and attacks. With no options left, you proceed to lose.
Jaina's late-game is very powerful, so your plan is to reach that point. Spam blocks to grow your hand. The purpose of your attacks, at this point, should be to protect those blocks: the threat of your attacks should make your opponent scared to throw. The fact that you are spamming blocks should dissuade your opponent from attacking. In the end, many combats will end up as Block vs. Block, which is exactly what you want. So let your opponent try to get at you, and try to connect your attacks into their throws.
As a recap: Spam blocks, play attacks to threaten the opponent's throws. Only throw if they decide to settle into a predictable Block vs Block rhythm. If you are sure you are going to win, then go ahead and throw... but unless you have a throw-heavy hand, it is a disaster to lose combat on a throw.
Late gameSo, you have lots of damage in hand. You have a couple of Unstable Power
That said, you should still throw sometimes. Otherwise, your opponent can just block back until you run out of dodges.
- What if I'm facing Grave
For that reason, Grave and Argagarg are the hardest matchups for Jaina. What to do? Well, you still have a stronger lategame. With a big hand, your combos are stronger than theirs. You are faster than Argagarg. They still will suffer if they want to dodge, but Arg doesn't need to dodge to beat you.Against Grave, you still have a good game if you manage to put 2+ Smoldering Embers
Credit to WaterD for this strategy guide.