I have Jaina thoughts but I don’t play her so I need some review and feedback.
Both JonnyD and thehug0naut feel like a slower, more damage efficient J would be helpful in the early game, both to deal with blocks and as early game dodge follow up. Is the issue that playing a slow early game is just not on theme for the character? Looking at the proposed 10 damage/10 chip slow J that knocks down, for example, it has exactly the same damage differential as her normal throw if she buys it back.
I don’t really see how making Knee Bash a starter makes it a better early game throw either. Until Jaina’s at high hand, she doesn’t have the cards to sustain a throw starter anyway, so making it a starter just gives her another lategame tool. If the issue is throwing with a block is bad, I think a better switch would actually be to just switch up her block distribution.
Maybe a better answer to her having kind of crap answers to early blocks is to make her throws deal 8 instead of 7, instead of giving her a big chipping attack? It seems easier than threading the needle of an attack that (1) does well against blocks in the early game but (2) doesn’t make her a holy terror because her innate means she only reduces her hand-size/potential damage when it’s beneficial to her.
As far as I can tell, the “real reason” she has Knee Bash is so that she has a way of discarding 10s besides her Q. If we just move her current 10 ability to her 7, maybe that solves the problem and lets us get rid of Knee Bash altogether, since the ability she most wants in the discard is on the throw she is most likely to want to reveal anyway. Or leave it on her 10, but make her 10 throw/dodge? Either way, the ability sits on her preferred move of its type (throw, or dodge).
The other benefit that Knee Bash has is in its ability to prevent dodge/throw mix-up gamestates when combined with Unstable Power. In a standard game, Unstable Power gives her a 50/50 anytime she’s not knocked down - her opponent needs to blodge to beat normal/dodge reveal, and attack to beat normal throw. Knee Bash isn’t relevant to that mix-up decision, except to hedge out attacks faster than 5.6.
For the sake of making as few changes as possible, I’ll just assume that preserving an attack/throw spin is relevant to her MUs in general, so let’s preserve it, but move it somewhere else. Maybe replace a side of her J with it? Her K is already kind of her real “spacing” tool, since it’s 2.4 speed, compared to 2.6 on Fast J. So now she has 4.6 attack/8.6 throw on her J instead? Since this would get rid of Fast J as an ender, maker Knee Bash a 3 CP ender. That way she can combo into it off an attack and buy it and the pumps back, so not much changes in terms of her average combat damage.
I know a lot of people really want her J to be cool and important to the character but I feel like it’s really hard to do that. Make it 2.4 and it’s kind of a crap version of K. Buff it so you have more incentive to play it over K and you potentially make her grappler MUs completely awful. As it is, Rook has only J and AA to outspeed 2.4. With Troq’s J going to 2.4, he and Midori have two ranks of specials that can deal with it (Qs beating it outright, and Js trading).
I like the idea of her Q becoming 0.0 speed. Sure it kind of sucks on paper that as soon as she goes to 35 HP she can spam Q a ton and it beats everything, but at that life total she’s so weak to dodge anyway, and I don’t think 0.2 to 0.0 changes anything about the MUs she’s already advantaged in.
Giving her 90 starting HP is probably fine too - it seems less risky to make that change than to change her innate’s buyback costs, and I that at least one of the women in the cast would have 90 HP (even if her effective HP is still very low).
So, to summarize.
- Throws to 8 damage.
- 5s become attack/block
- 6s become attack/block
- 9s become throw/dodge
- 10s become throw/dodge
- Probably leave Smoldering Embers on her 10s - playing either side now puts it in her discard
- Unstable Power ability goes to her 9s, maybe, just as a quality of life thing
- Q to 0.0 speed
- Replace her Fast J with Knee Bash, and make Knee Bash a 3 CP ender