This guide was written by @Juushichi
Hi, my name is Juushichi. You may have seen me in such works as “Juushichi powers up for Aces and then Throws into them!” or “Juushichi and the mystery of Midori (vs Setsuki)”. However, today I am here to do exactly what the title indicates.
Without further ado, here is my very long and drawn out ramble about Jaina vs 20 characters:
This is a matchup where you have to passively attack in. Lum’s main objectives are to get a large hand, work some dodges and get to his abilities so he can kill you. His most important attack, J , is faster than your general range of attacks, but without his reversal (which can’t chip) and his 0.8 AA, he does not have too much of an answer for your A/Q. Even with his reversal, he doesn’t have an answer to your Q, attack vs attack. His J is really annoying if you don’t have either, but you do have dodges— a lot of them. Use them and make sure that he can’t recur those annoying things. If you dodge a few, it really takes the punch out of his offense and forces him to do something else. Keep in mind that the Lum Attack/Block range with high enough block kinda disrespects this. If you can block with him for a little while, I would suggest that.
In fact, I would call this a matchup where you can reasonably expect to block a lot and get cards. There are tons of damage options available to Jaina with a large hand size and her damage out of a dodge or throw here is respectable enough. Some of your best options on throw are throw->J (13)/throw->normal->J(at least 15). Knockdown isn’t a bad to try offensive actions like normals and K and try to get some damage. However, be wary of his J still, his Q and AA. Lum really does have to respect your Unstable Power mixup, so use this to change the tempo or get some damage in your hand. He has the superior throw speed, but you do have two 8.6 speed throws and Lum may want to dodge a lot. If you can get one or two Unstable Powers into your discard, this accelerates your game all the more by forcing the pace.[/details]
This is actually a pretty dangerous one for Jaina. The lawyer does big damage, the options in his hand are not often telegraphed in the early game and he is also very dangerous and ambiguous with a high hand size. DeGrey also looks very eager to counter hit your throws, so block is likely more of your friend here in the first part of your game. You need just enough blocking to get him off of you, so you can set up your offense. As you will see in later parts of my match up descriptions, I am a very huge proponent of Single Ace attack, but not so much this in one. Be careful throwing out attacks because of his Ace Dodge and make sure that you keep enough cards in your hand to both sustain damage output and to get a good throw confirm out. If you want to go attack vs attack, I don’t think K is a bad option at all here. It doesn’t trade favorably with his J, but odds are that he’s going to use it as an ender instead of a neutral tool.
Since ultimately you want to mitigate that annoying Ace dodge, you’ll have to throw. Surprisingly, his options when he is knocked down are pretty healthy vs Jaina. I think the main sort of interaction you’ll be looking for is your K/normal vs his J/normal or trying to bait out his K reversal. However, you must also take into account that his normals are X.6 just like yours, so crossups are not as valid unfortunately. Trading is not favorable any way you slice it, so you may want to make a more defensive move in this case if you go the knockdown route. I would generally suggest trying to take the damage that you can and get things back to neutral with a decent hand. Make sure that you keep your hand sizable enough to be a threat, but not large enough that he gets his damage bonuses.
Keep in mind that with his damage bonus innate applying to his AA attack ender, it is more enticing for him to throw vs Jaina. Be careful here, as it is a tool that can be utilized healthily in the early or mid game to get life advantage and make your buy-backs hurt that much more.[/details]
Probably one of Jaina’s easier matchups. Valerie’s only true reversal is on a Q, which she can’t speed up and does 14 damage max. She really needs her normals to mount an offense if she doesn’t have much of a hand or J and you have the most efficient damage card in the MU in single A. Beats Chromatic and any other Burst of Speed backed attacks, doesn’t have too much startup cost and thus destroys a lot of Val’s starting offense. If you think that Valerie might block to gain more cards, make sure that you try to have a similar amount of cards in your own hand. If she blocks too much, you probably want to throw her to disrupt her a bit. With 80 life and only 12 dodges, you might see a lot more block out of this character than you would most other fast attackers. Make sure to establish Q and A to set up your blocks.
Because of Jaina’s single A and other reversals disrupting her normals for the most part, throw is a pretty standard option for Valerie to default to when it comes to mounting an offense. It is her most difficult option to blue burst. Valerie can block in response to your A and Q, but if you decide to work some normals in, both of you get to damage and Valerie still generally doesn’t outdamage Jaina safely. She does have AA or J++ as good damage option enders, so keep this in mind. Valerie is also extremely weak to blue bursting on successful attack, so if she decides to go for big damage and loses it, it could cripple her entire gameplan. Because ultimately you do have to throw Valerie to disrupt her, she can counter throw or also stick out a normal into a string to blow you up.
However, the scariest part of this matchup is honestly if she gets a knockdown. Jaina really needs to protect her blocks and between BoS-backed mixup normals, A, dodge for a new KD attempt and throw, Jaina does have to worry about coming up safely. In addition, Valerie can dodge into A, AA or J++ for more than respectable damage. Valerie’s throw confirms hurt and can do upwards to 33 damage max, which is nothing to shake a fist at. [/details]
I think this is a matchup forces Jaina to play “true neutral” for most of the game. Ripe with fast attack options, reversals, counters and the ability to read hands… there’s not a whole lot of room for shenanigans (Grave AAA aside). You have similar throw speeds, higher damage and slower attacks. Grave has the better reversal in Q, but a lot of his other options lose to Q and A. Both of you have strong blocks that gain future damage potential, but his are better for that purpose. Unless something crazy happens, a lot of damage that you gain is going to be incremental. Reversals, maybe a stray throw into J, or you might be able to stick a normal into a throw and get a confirm. Keep in mind that the speeds on your specials are inferior: 0.0 vs 0.2 on Q, 2.2 vs 2.4 on K, 2.4 vs 2.6/4.6 on J, but you have the 1.0 vs 0.8 advantage on A. This comes up at a lot of phases in the game, because ultimately you do attack to build cards.
Thankfully, Grave has less functional throws than you do. Disrupt his blocks and try to get some healthy damage when you can. Play conservatively: Try not to let Grave sneak too much damage in with J and try not to hit his blocks to allow him to draw cards/Qs. Ultimately you want to get to the point where you have a life-lead and work AA confirms to seal the deal away. Don’t fall behind in life or cards too much as it is difficult to break his defense long enough to steal the game back.[/details]
Jaina’s second hardest matchup. Setsuki can dodge for days, she gets to her relevant cards quickly, has superior throw speed, and generally superior attack speeds. It can be a real pain. As usual, your linchpin for this MU is single A, since it beats every attack except for Q. However, Q is the real problem because it beats every attack you have in your hand. It really hurts to have your attacks dodged into a knockdown where you have to guess again. If you are having times guessing where to burst, if there is a chance, I would save your blue bursts for any time you get hit by a Q.
Because she get blown up so hard for overreaching, I think Jaina should be playing a lot of defensive options. Blocking and dodging while trying to get a hand large enough to kill her is a good gameplan to start with. Keep in mind that you do have to attack eventually, since Setsuki does do enough functional damage off of throw to annoy you and being knocked down allows her to run her offensive set ups pretty well. You basically lose attack vs attack, but you have to try to attack her throws. I would suggest with a normal instead of a special like K, so you can have more cards for the future. Fortunately, if you can get a good confirm in, you don’t have to land many more. This is a hard matchup, so good luck, you’ll need it![/details]
I think that this matchup is rather hard, actually. Midori is very strong with a large hand and it’s pretty difficult to actually keep him from gaining them because of his dominant throw speeds. His damage is pretty efficient and your normally solid strategy of “have single A, use single A” is a bit weak with the presence of what block means for Midori as well as his Dragon Q (0.6 speed). In addition, because of Defense Mastery, you can’t just attack his blocks to gain that sweet, sweet card advantage. Midori J is a key card because it will beat your normal starters and it’s possibly recurable because of his Dragon Form blocks. Midori 4 will also blow up slow J.
You’ll need a blend of all options (except maybe dodge) to whittle down Midori’s HP. Luckily, he’s pretty soft to AA, so in late game things really accelerate greatly. Be mindful that Unstable Power is not the strongest option in this matchup. You can throw Qs during the ability, so that should be your backup plan if you decided to play for that. Throw/Q are probably your strongest options, as your normal flip loses to Midori’s Dragon Form Attacks. This does make you soft to Gold Burst, however. Like Grave, this is a neutral state heavy matchup for you. Midori can snowball hard with good usage of Dragon Form.[/details]
Like Midori, it’s difficult to stop Rook from gaining cards and starting his offense. Rook has strong and annoying special blocks, his 2.2 speed J, and his 0.8 speed AA, all of which trump your starters. His damage is respectable and has a crapton of health, so you’ll often be trying to lower his health in unorthodox ways. I think Charged Shot is a good way to take chunks of health at a time, but be wary because Rook will gain card advantage very quickly. Don’t be predictable unless you want to hit a special block. When Charged Shot stops being useful between the phase transitions of early to mid game, use Flame Arrow as an ender.
Because of the presence of Rook’s K, I would suggest attacking known throws or expected throws with 5/6 to beat both of those, draw a card and give you some high damage. J offers higher initial damage but no draw. Prioritize red normals over black, so you can get some chip in scenarios where they might not work out. Be wary of Rook’s AA, since it ties your single A and hurts a lot, accelerating the game in a way you might not want. Jaina is also a little soft to Rock Armor, so I would keep my bursts around for that if you can. These are the two main options that make life awkward for Jaina on the attack side.[/details]
I think this is Jaina’s worst matchup. It’s hard to keep his hand size down, his attack speeds are pretty comparable, he’s got the best damage potential in the game and sometimes you will eat an “oops 20” because of his 0.0 Cycloid Revolution. His 0.2 Flash Gear is also greatly annoying because it knocks down. Do anything you can to get the most amount of damage possible with the lowest amount of cards spent, as you need to have a sizable amount options to defend against Geiger’s offense.
Knockdown can be extremely painful for Jaina, as she’s put in a very dangerous guessing game. You have Q, A and AA to try to ward him off. However, Q trades unfavorably and AA does trade moderately favorably with K, but keeps you on the ground. Of course Geiger has AA at the end of the day to trump all. Jaina also is a bit block soft and Geiger has the ability to eat said blocks with his Time Spirals to keep you on the ground. Did I mention that it’s annoying to see him build cards? I would save your 7 to use as Unstable Power for times where Geiger puts up Temporal Distortion to gain some control and potentially get rid of the ability. It’s hard to stop Geiger from doing much of anything so, much like Setsuki, good luck![/details]
Jaina’s third or fourth hardest matchup. His attack speeds are annoying, his blocks are annoying and his special block could lose you the game. Period. That being said, Single A as usual is a pretty good friend to have around. It beats all of Argagarg’s attacks save AA and you will see Argagarg attack a lot to disrupt throw. K is not all that bad of a card to use either, though it trades unfavorably with J and loses to Q. You should block a lot in this matchup. Take the chip, don’t panic and build your hand so you can get a really good confirm. You do have the throw speed advantage, so make that knockdown or throw combo really count.
Argagarg is pretty resilient to blue bursts and does good enough damage per card used with his Hex of Murkwood innate ability. Don’t get complacent playing defensive options because Arg can easily stretch a life lead on a successful combat win, which will make it much harder for you to play the game you want. You have a window of about 18 life between you and the Argagarg where you can play similarly and not be rushed to keep up. I like to call this the “magic number” of the matchup. If you have the lead by more than this number, you can play comfortably and he has to reach. If you are down by more than 18 life points, Arg can play a little more recklessly to stretch the lead.[/details]
Pick Setsuki, Geiger, Argagarg or DeGrey.
If you are stuck in the mirror: Outplay your opponent.[/details]
This MU is a little tricky, but I don’t find it to be particularly difficult. I would suggest not going all in early in the game. Avoid getting hit by Mistress Command so you don’t ruin a hand early. Block a lot. You have a 10 point life lead to start the game, so eating an initial throw is not going to be too detrimental, if you are patient. Unlike Zane, Persephone has some start-up time before she is really able to stretch her knockdowns and keep you out of the game. Her innate ability is not as potent in the first phases of the game because she is not going to returning very valuable cards on average. She will have to burn a fair amount of her hand to get much out of any real confirm. You hold the damage conversion advantage over this character and because of your 7, which should always be used as a throw, it makes it awkward for her to abuse you on throw.
I would hold on to your single As and try not to power up for them early (unless necessary) to mitigate Bare Your Soul. Save your Qs and Single As until you get a solid understanding of how Persephone wants to work her knockdown/standing game. They, AA, and K are all pretty mean to Persephone. All of your specials are useful and especially damaging to her low health total, so you can get more mileage than usual from them. Bait out her dodges. Do not get scared when you have been knocked down. Because of your offensive superiority, it is a lot more likely that she will dodge than do anything else. While playing normals against a knocked down Jaina is risky, Persephone will sometimes do it. If you get a hit, make it hurt a lot. She does not have the life to get in a pissing contest with you once you know how to handle her.[/details]
Don’t fall of the oki-doke.
Quince has a lot of life at 90 HP, so he can take a lot of chances to navigate his way in and make your life a living hell. Navigating his early game is also key because, like the DeGrey matchup, it’s rather difficult to get a bead on what he might want to do. At the start of the game, all of Quince’s options are reasonable plays.
All of your attack and throw options are useful vs Quince, so keep this in mind while you’re using Jaina’s neutral tools. However, of note, Flame Arrow is probably at it’s most useful as an attack in this particular matchup. At 2.6 speed, it ties with his J and beats all of his other attack options except 1.2 speed AA, and it hits his block for 5 damage. Aside from that, you should throw him on the ground and take advantage of how bad his wakeup options are.
On defense, pay attention to Quince’s hand size as a primary key to his mixup. As a rule of thumb,
- J is the safest way to get him more cards to work with. It allows him to generally not lose combat.
- K absolutely bullies throw starved opponents and stealthfully allows him to utilize his 7 to beat your 8 throw or more to stretch his advantage.
- Q also allows Quince to do the same, but also threaten fast throws. However, he can also dodge, burst, block or play fast attack for those who want to punish with a heavy attack (5/6, etc)
Keep in mind that you can utilize your 7 as another breather to mitigate some of these setups. Pay attention to your throws and also A/AA on his end.[/details]
Take your single A and run with it.
Seriously, it’s the best answer to Gwen pushing any button except for Q and she only ever gets 4 of those. Single A basically does 12 damage and beats all of her attacks save Q. Otherwise, you can block to gain cards while she bleeds to death. You also have a lot of dodges for her attacks, putting most of the pressure on her throws to gain meaningful offense. You have 7 throw to contend with her 7 throw and two 8 throws otherwise.
The goal is to not run into special blocks, not to let her win on dodges and play your game close to the formula as possible. Burst her K immediately if you see it win combat as a starter on a meaningful turn. It is her most damaging starter that you should feasibly get hit by, unless she sneaks a J into one of your throws.[/details]
Play defense, play defense, play defense.
Gloria has 70 HP (functionally higher), but you do quite a lot of damage. Treat her like Persephone: Pick your spots and knock her head off. If she decides to do anything attack wise that isn’t AAA, you can snipe it with single A. Keep this in mind as you see her throw Js/Ks/Qs that you otherwise cannot contend much with. Blocking wise, she can’t necessarily stop you from gaining cards unless she attempts to throw you. A combat win on throw is important for her, but her throw speed is worse than yours.
If you manage to knock her down she is still soft to your A/Q. You can use this threat to throw or attempt a mixup normal for larger damage. If you do see a Healing Sphere get played, a strategy you can use is to play Unstable Power to try to disrupt it.[/details]
Zane is a pretty annoying character.
However, unsurprisingly enough, he is also soft to Single A and Q. On paper it can still be pretty scary to engage with Zane in neutral. You can choose to block, but allowing Zane to block isn’t because because of the potential to build for Maximum Anarchy. His throw conversions are also dangerous. Even though you lose optimally on both attack (2 attack) and throw (5 and 7 respectively) speeds, you will still have attempt both in order to establish a threat.
You have reversals for a reason. They both beat out his meaties clean and they’re nice, safe and fun. Don’t get too greedy however, since Zane can block and dodge them and make things awkward for you. Both of you do a lot of damage and start with the same amount of HP. Have at it.[/details]
That big jerk of a bull is here.
Luckily, he’s not actually all that much of an issue for Jaina. For the most part, the character has to hold your attacks at his chest. Because of Defense Mastery, prioritize chip (Charged Shot) over speed especially in early game. However, Troq still has dodges, so you should want to be wary of that. When he has blocks attached, he gains stronger damage efficiency.
In addition, with two blocks attached, there is the threat of his Beast Unleashed super, so be mindful of this. Save your bursts and 7 for these moments primarily. Don’t get hit in the face by Q, J or AA too many times. Single Ace (again) beats all of his attack and throw options.[/details]
This is a pretty tricky matchup.
You have a lot of dodges and Onimaru is not a character that deals very well with those. Q trades with single A pretty decently, 10 damage for 10 damage unless he uses a Final Authority. If you want to block, use 9/10 pretty liberally, since Onimaru isn’t likely to use his 10 attack because of the dodge threat. If you do want to attack early, pepper Oni with a lot of Charged Shot. It beats his General’s Armor 5 and early Guard Crushes normals, but be wary of his Ace attack. You eventually want to get to the point where you feel safe throwing because it’s dangerous to let him build a hand.
Finishing Onimaru is a little difficult because of Final Authority, so you might have to find creative ways to get Aces. It’s an unpopular opinion, but I think occasionally gold bursting Onimaru isn’t bad since you’ll want access to your highest damage pretty often.[/details]
Block a lot.
Vendetta 2-attack is pretty annoying. He also has some pretty high damage potential. Don’t get too aggressive since he’ll just dodge you or use Acrobatics to get out of sticky situations. Q and A are pretty good options to blow up his 2-attack if you think he’s going to be liberal with it. It’s not very often that he’s going to use his 8 as a throw, so you do have the dominant 8 throw(s).
Ven does trump Jaina on 7 throw speed, but because his throws are otherwise slow (4/9/K) or tied to some other valuable assets (7/8), Vendetta is functionally throw starved. You can use this to your advantage by playing in a way that forces him to try to throw instead of using his normals to stop you from building a hand. Keep in mind that after playing Unstable Power, Vendetta can lose the subsequent combat and use Acrobatics to ignore it. He loses at least 3 cards and you will take 7 damage, losing two cards.[/details]
Biggest threats are K, Q and 7.
Menelker damage output is generally not the best early on, so you can block safely for a while. Menelker isn’t exactly enticed to reach out and do something aggressive, but do be wary of 7 throw, since it can blow your hand to hell very fast. His life total is pretty low, but that does not mean that engaging with him is going to be easy either.
Jaina is rather soft to 0.0 reversals and Menelker’s is pretty good. Menelker should threaten this early and often, so you will have to earn your way in. Menelker players are more content to use their normals to blodge instead of attacking like Valerie or Setsuki might, or to beat a throw attempt so you will not see them in neutral much.
Get a bunch of damage in your hand and then let it rip when you win combat. Try to hit with A+ at least one time. Smart Menelkers will usually Into Oblivion the first Ace that they see in the discard pile, so play smartly and keep them in your hands as long as possible.[/details]
The Robutt really has to hold that L when it comes to fighting Jaina in neutral.
Much like Quince, BBB really really does not like dealing fast J. It blows up most of his offensive options to get Range. However, do keep in mind that it loses to fast J (which knocks down), single A at 1.4 and AA which is 0.2 and does 21 damage. These are going to be his neutral tools for the most part. There is also his generally underutilized .4 speed throw game, which wins throw exchanges in this matchup. His 7, 8, and K are all valuable to answer Jaina’s throw game.
If you are unfortunately enough to go to range, BBB still struggles offensively and hopes that Jaina attacks into his dodges. Play defensively or play a reversal as a general answer. He only has so many dodges and loses them when he comes out of Range if he plays them during Range. K throw is important to be aware of, as it can be very annoying for Jaina if she plays defensively or attacks into a dodge.
It’s a rather easy MU if you play things by the book, but don’t get complacent as smart BBB play that takes enough calculated risks can still blow up you up rather fast.[/details]
Special Thanks to @cpat for TEARING MY HEART OUT helping me finish this guide. Without you buddy, this would have been put off until next year!
This guide was written by @Juushichi