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[Character Guide] Painting by Numbers with Valerie, the Manic Painter

This guide was written by Xavarir

Painting by Numbers, with Valerie, the Manic Painter

First a little about me. I am fairly new to Yomi having only discovered it during the recent Kickstarter campaign. During my first couple of weeks playing, I bounced around a few characters before finding one that I wanted to continue playing and continue to improve with. Enter Valerie. I know Valerie has undergone some major changes from v1 to v2. I am hoping that as a new player only entering the Yomi “scene” at v2, I will be able to provide a fresh set of eyes and opinions on how to play Valerie.

Character Overview

Valerie is a versatile character with strong attack options and large combos. She has a middle-of-the-pack life total of 80 and has a maximum of 6 combo points, the most in the game. Valerie’s ability kit revolves mainly around punishing her opponents with normal attacks. She has respectable normal attack speeds at x.4 and surprisingly fast throw speeds at x.2 (‘x’ in both cases being the card number; ie. Valerie’s 5 attack is 5.4 speed and her 8 throw is 8.2 speed).

Valerie has normal attacks on 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Valerie has special attacks on J, Q, and K.
Valerie has super attacks on Ace.
Valerie has dodges on 2, 3, and 4.
Valerie has blocks on 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
Valerie has throws on 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Valerie is able to keep her hand full, and maintain her assault, by blocking, attacking with normals, comboing 3 or more normals together, which generate Aces, and then hitting the opponent with Aces.


Valerie’s innate is Agile Hands. Agile hands allows you to combo normal attacks in any order. Other characters can only combo them as “straights” (2-3-4, 3-4-5, etc). Comboing 3 or more normal attacks together allows Valerie to retrieve an Ace (two Aces for 4 normals, three Aces for 5 normals, and FOUR Aces for six normals) from her deck or discard pile. This is a key part of Valerie’s combos and is what makes her normal attacks so scary.

Things to Note/Key Points

Valerie vs. Jokers

Because of Valerie’s potent normal attacks and high damage combos, Jokers can really throw a wrench into your plans. At the same time, because of Valerie’s combo potential, opponents may be more likely to bluff, when they don’t have a Joker, to try and dissuade you from following through with your combo. Fortunately for Valerie, running a normal combo into a facedown Joker still provides the Aces from completing a “straight”, even though the damage is prevented.

With these things in mind, I would recommend thinking very carefully before playing J++ into a facedown. J++ is a huge part of Valerie’s damage and having it beat by a facedown Joker could cripple you (the same applies to AA). If you have a large hand with lots of other combat options, and you highly suspect the facedown is a bluff, you could attempt J++ or AA. Opponents will be more likely to bluff if they have a low hand or are in lethal damage range.

Playing a 3 or 4 card normal combo into a facedown is usually okay UNLESS you have a very low hand to begin with. If it is a Joker, you get the damage from the opening attack/throw and an Ace or two for your troubles. If it is a bluff, you get the damage as well as the Aces. It is unwise to unload a full 5 or 6 card normal combo into a facedown. Sure you MIGHT get some big damage off if it is a bluff, but if it is a Joker, you are probably stuck with a 4 card hand of all Aces. Saving some normals in your hand allows you to use them in future combos and gives you more combat options.

The “Normal Draw” Rule

The Normal Draw rule is very important for Valerie. Here it is from the rulebook:

2c. Normal Draw Rule
Using a normal attack in combat can give you a bonus card draw. If your normal attack was blocked or won combat, draw a card now. (Normal attacks are the attacks with a poker value between 2 and 10.)

While this rule benefits every character, Valerie is among those who value it the most. Valerie’s kit revolves so much around her normal attacks and big combos, that having each and every normal attack generate a card when it wins combat or hits a block (hitting a grappler block won’t net you a card) is invaluable.

An Exercise in Hand Management

A major part of playing Valerie is learning how to properly manage your hand. As exciting as it is to play a huge combo on turn 1, you want to make sure you don’t cripple yourself for the rest of the game. Valerie can quite often dump her entire hand into a combo for huge amounts of damage, but playing with a small hand of cards is very bad for Valerie.

Each time you win combat you should ask yourself, “What are my combo options?” and “What will I be left with?”. As a general rule, you want to try and keep one of each combat option (attack, block, throw, and dodge) in your hand. Having one of each combat option allows you more flexibility. Obviously there are times this won’t happen, or even be possible, but it is a good guideline to follow.

Luckily, Valerie has a number of ways to keep her card engine flowing throughout the game. The normal draw rule in combination with her ability to make “straights” and her Unbounded Creativity ability on her Ace can keep Valerie’s hand healthy.

As the game of Yomi is very fluid, ultimately it is up to the player to make the best decision at the time. You have to weigh the value of having the cards in your hand vs. the value of getting the damage through. You might decide that getting that huge combo off is worth playing with only 2-3 cards in hand, and it might be the right play at that particular time. Keep an open mind and evaluate your options before dumping your entire hand into a combo.

Knockdown Knowledge

The knockdown/mix-up game is something I continue to struggle with as a relatively new Yomi player. I’ve noticed that I especially neglect it when playing Valerie. I’m playing VALERIE, I want to see big numbers, and I want to see them NOW! Due to Valerie’s combo potential, I often assume (facepalm) that my opponent is more likely to bluff when I land a successful throw. This often results in me running a normal combo into the facedown, just to have it Joker’d. Then I am left questioning why I didn’t just take the knockdown. I am now on a quest to improve my knockdown/mix-up game.

I believe that Valerie benefits a great deal from knocking down the opponent for a few reasons:

  • Valerie revolves around her normal attacks. By knocking down your opponent you can take advantage of the mix-up normal rule (Even numbered normal attacks can’t be blocked by odd numbered blocks and vice versa). This increases your chances of winning combat and getting damage through. While this is a benefit for every character, playing a successful mix-up as Valerie is more likely to explode into a huge damage combo due to her ability to combo any
    normal attacks together.

  • Valerie can hold her own at the speed game. A lot of opponents will react to being knocked down with their fastest available attack. Valerie’s 0.2 speed Q, 1.0 speed Ace, and Burst of Speed ability on her Ten gives her a lot of options to counter fast attacks. Keep in mind 0.0 speed attacks will still make Valerie cry.

  • The Normal Draw rule. I feel obligated to mention this here. We already know Valerie values this rule much more than most characters so an increased chance to land a normal is always welcome.

If you refuse to combo after landing a successful throw a few times during a game, your opponent will probably stop playing facedowns. This will give you more opportunities to get your big damage combos through.

Learning how to properly utilize the knockdown/mix-up mechanics is not an easy task but is very rewarding when used properly. Just because Valerie is a combo machine doesn’t mean you have to combo off every throw. Valerie is very versitile and can take advantage of knocking down an opponent. As always, the game of Yomi is very fluid and each match is unique in it’s own way. It will be up to you to make the decisions which best suit the current game.

Painting Outside the Lines: Tips and Tech Mischief

Valerie’s Bold Strokes ability (on her 7s) allows for some high level mind games and useful tricks. These fall in the “high risk, high reward” category and should only be attempted if you are desperate or almost positive you have the read right.

  1. Baiting Jokers - You have just won combat with a normal attack and are feeling tricksy. You don’t have many combo options but your opponent doesn’t know that. Playing a Bold Strokes suggests that you have a large combo in hand, when in fact you don’t plan to play anything afterwards. Fearing the large burst, your opponent may opt to play a Joker facedown. This is useful when you have a large hand since Valerie is very dangerous with a lot of cards. Play two Bold Strokes for SERIOUS joker bait.

  2. Just…a little…more…- Bold Strokes can be used to draw into combo filling options when you are close to lethal or want a single normal for a straight. Of course, it is always a gamble, but it could mean the difference between winning this turn or chance losing down the line. Netting a face card to pump to J, or a 5/6 normal to tag on the end of a normal combo is significant damage.

  3. More cards = More Jokers - Thanks to @Leontes for mentioning this!

you’ve lost combat and your opponent is about to start a combo that threatens lethal, you can actually spam Bold Strokes to draw more cards before doing a facedown.

Did she draw the Joker? Hrm… :wink:

Card Overview

Valerie’s fastest normal attack at 2.4 speed. 2 attack is very valuable in many matchups since at 2.4 speed it beats or trades with almost any normal attack in the game. On top of that, it reaches 1.0 speed with just 1 Burst of Speed (the ability found on her 10, more on this later). The flip side of Valerie’s 2 is a dodge. Dodging at the right time is essential to winning games in Yomi. Valerie has a few great options after a successful dodge, J++ which does 21 damage, A which does 10 damage and draws you a card, and AA which does 16 and draws you a card.

Valerie’s second fastest normal attack at 3.4 speed. Unlike her 2 attack, Valerie’s 3 can not reach 1.0 speed with only 1 Burst of Speed. This makes it slightly less valuable as a combo opener since many characters have 1.0-1.2 speed attacks that will beat Valerie’s 3 + 1 Burst of Speed. Valerie’s 3 attack can reach 1.0 speed by stacking 2 Burst of Speed, but it is rarely worth the card cost unless it will win you the game, or prevent you from losing the game. It is still useful in some matchups and always useful in a normal combo to retrieve Aces. It can be used to power-up for Aces as well. Like Valerie’s 2, the flip side of her 3 is a dodge. Because of her 3s low base damage (three), and the fact that it does not reach 1.0 with 1 Burst of Speed, always use Valerie’s 3 to dodge before using her 2 to dodge.

Valerie’s third fastest normal attack at 4.4 speed. Similar to Valerie’s 3, her 4 is useful in normal attack combos or to power up for Aces. Keep in mind, her 4 can also reach 1.0 ttack speed using 2 Burst of Speeds if required. The flip side of Valerie’s 4 is the home of her final dodge. The 4 damage from this card makes it enticing to use in normal combos rather than a dodge.

On Valerie’s 5 we find her first block. Although Valerie has very potent attack options, blocking is very, very important. Blocking allows Valerie to build her hand so she can hit those damaging attack combos. Blocking is also essential to preventing damage from your opponent. On the flip side of Valerie’s 5 block is her second most damaging normal attack at 5 damage and 5.4 speed. Useful for using in normal combos.

Valerie’s most damaging normal attack at 6 damage and 6.4 speed. Due to its high damage, it is preferable to use these in normal combos when possible. Like her 5, the flip side of Valerie’s 6 is a block.

Valerie’s 7 is the home of her first card ability, Bold Strokes. Bold Strokes is used during combat reveal and reads as follows:

“Your normal attacks do +1 damage each this turn. Draw a card.”

This ability is one of the reasons people fear Valerie’s normal attacks. The extra damage from Bold Strokes is nothing to scoff at, and remember, you can stack them. With four 7s in hand (it is unlikely you will ever find yourself with four 7s in hand), that is a potential +4 damage to every normal you combo into. On top of the damage, it replaces itself with a card draw. Bold Strokes is a great ability that allows Valerie to get that bit of extra damage in that may make the difference between win or lose.

But wait! There’s more! Valerie’s 7 is also her fastest throw at 7.2 speed. Outside of grapplers (Midori, Rook, and Troq), a 7.2 speed normal throw is among the fastest in the game. This is important because in a throw vs throw combat, Valerie’s 7 will clash with or beat all other non-grappler, non-super throws (except Lum’s 6 throw and Zane’s 5 throw). This increases the value of her 7 even more. Burst of Speed can also be used on Valerie’s throws making them even faster. Due to her 7s already fast speed, Burst of Speed will be more valuable when used on her slower throws. Because Valerie’s 7 is so valuable for its ability, or as her fastest throw, the block on the flip side is mostly ignored. It still serves Valerie well as a block if she has no other blocks in hand.

Valerie’s 8 is her second fastest throw at 8.2 speed. Using just 1 Burst of Speed, her 8 throw can reach 6.2 speed, which is fast enough to beat every non-grappler, non-super throw in the game (except Zane’s 5 throw). Burst of Speed is much more valuable when used on an 8 throw because her 7 throw is already faster than most throws in the game. In many matchups, Valerie will be able to beat every throw the opponent has using 7s and 8 + Burst of Speed. The flip side of Valerie’s 8 is another block.

9 is Valerie’s third throw at 9.2 speed. Burst of Speed is useful on her 9s because it makes them 7.2 speed (the same speed as her 7s, which we already know beat most throws in the game). The flip side of Valerie’s 9 is a block. Since 9 is Valerie’s slowest “usable” (see 10 below) throw, it is my “go to” card for blocking in most cases.

Burst. Of. Speed. I’ve mentioned it countless times already throughout this guide and here it is, in the fl - paper? Valerie’s 10 houses her second card ability, Burst of Speed. It is used during combat reveal and reads as follows:

“The attack or throw you combat-revealed is 2 speed faster, to a minimum of speed 1.0 (Does stack if you play multiples.)”

This card is a big part of what makes Valerie so fun to play, and so versatile. It allows her to win many lost speed battles in attack vs attack and throw vs throw combats. Which in turn, can turn into big damaging combos. 99% of the time you should be using Valerie’s 10 for its ability. The 1% that you use it to throw or block, it better be the play that wins you the game, or prevents you from losing that turn.

Valerie’s J is her first special attack, Three Colors and it is a very important part of Valerie’s damage output. For starters, it is 2.2 speed, meaning it can be sped up to 1.0 speed with just 1 Burst of Speed, and does 7 base damage. It is an ender that costs two combo points and that can be pumped with any two FACE (J, Q, or K) cards for an extra 7 damage each. That’s up to 21 damage for 2 combo points, that you can stick on the end of a normal combo, a successful throw, or even a dodge. 21 damage off a dodge is very good damage at any point of the game.

Valerie’s Q is her fastest attack, Crimson Passion. At 0.2 speed it beats, or trades with, every other non-0.0 attack in the game.

Q is an ender that costs three combo points, does 8 base damage, and can be pumped by any two cards for an extra 3 damage each. Although Q can be pumped for up to 6 extra damage, I don’t recommend it unless the damage will be lethal (or you have a decent sized hand and it will bring them within range for something like a single Ace or throw kill). Valerie doesn’t have any “bad” cards, and pumping any card to Q for a mere 3 damage, takes away from the strength of her hand. Valerie, like most characters, is happiest with a large hand so she can combo into 58 damage attack combos!

You’ll want to use her Q to beat out those attacks that fall in the 0.4 - 1.0 range (ie. attacks your single Ace attack or Burst of Speed backed attacks can’t beat). Q is also very useful when you are knocked down. Many players will try and hit you with a mixup normal, so a 0.2 speed Q to the face could save you.

Q is also one of the three options you can use to pump J with. Depending on the matchup, you may be able to pump Q to J all day long with little to no consequence. In other matchups, saving Q to beat those 0.4 - 1.0 speed attacks will be crucial.

Valerie’s K is her last special attack, Flying Rainbow Strike. It is a 3.4 speed, 6 damage linker, that costs a single combo point. It is also home of Valerie’s third card ability, Splash of Color. Splash of Color is a “passive” ability that triggers during combat if the ability condition is met. It reads:

“This can only be blocked by a block of the same color (red/black).”

At first glance this card looks a little out of place in Valerie’s kit. Its speed isn’t great at 3.4, needing two Burst of Speeds to reach 1.0. It’s a linker, which is sort of irrelevant because Valerie can combo any normals together. It isn’t a normal attack so you don’t draw a card if it hits, or is blocked. It doesn’t count towards your “straight” to get Aces.

But the ability on K can be extremely useful when used correctly. It is especially useful against the grappler archetype characters, and a few others (such as Argagarg), because they tend to block more often than other characters. As a Valerie player, watching which blocks the opponent is playing, or has played, can allow you to capatilize on their plays.

Lets talk about blocking for a minute. Many people will attempt to block with the same card each time. This is for a few reasons: 1) It is probably the card they consider to be the least valuable to them and 2) They don’t want to give you any more information than necessary. If you notice the opponent has successfully blocked 2-3 times during a match with the exact same card, there is a good chance that they next time they block, it will be that card again. Many characters will spam block (blocking 2-3 times right in a row) early game, trying to build their hand size for the mid to late game. People will also tend to block if they are low on cards because they want to rebuild their hand. It is YOUR job as a Valerie player, to notice these patterns, and punish them for it. Landing an opposite color K attack on a block can lead to huge damage.

K is also useful for geting an extra 6 damage off of a throw combo. You can throw with 8, stick a K in there, and then end the combo with J++ or AA. This allows you to save your more valuable normals to use in large normal combos later.

Finally we have Valerie’s Ace. Her Ace has a different super attack on each side and is where we find her fourth and final card ability, Unbounded Creativity. Unbounded Creativity is another “passive” ability hich triggers immediately during combat if the condition is met. Unbounded Creativity reads as follows:

“When you hit with either side of this Ace, draw a card.”

The ability on Valerie’s Ace is important because it allows Valerie to keep her hand full, which in turn helps her generate damage. This ability, combined with Valerie’s innate, allows her to continually fish for Aces and then use them to rebuild her hand.

The first super attack is Chromatic Orb. Chromatic Orb is a 1.0 speed, 10 damage attack which can not be comboed into. It is useful as a “poke” if you are expecting a throw or a normal attack. It also beats a large number of other characters face card attacks. Like Valerie’s Q, Chromatic Orb can be useful when knocked down. It will outspeed every normal attack in the game (or clash with another Valerie’s Burst of Speed backed normals) and prevent you from being hit by a mixup attack. Chromatic Orb is also a good option after a successful dodge. It will hit for 10 damage and draw you a card.

The second super attack is Masterpiece. Masterpiece is a 1.2 speed, 16 damage, two combo point ender, that requires two Aces. Since this side is an ender, it is excellent to stick on the end of combos. You can also use Masterpiece after a successful dodge, however using a single Ace for Chromatic Orb may be a better option as you get to keep the second Ace which is a very powerful combat card. Essentially you trade the 6 extra damage from Masterpiece for a stronger combat option down the road.


As I mentioned before, I am fairly new to Yomi. I still have a great deal to learn, including with Valerie. This guide is not meant to be “carved in stone” representation of how to play Valerie. Different people have different play styles and this is mine.

I also want to say thanks to @ratxt1 whose Valerie guide helped me a great deal when I started playing Valerie.

I will continue to update the guide as I go and as I learn more about Valerie and her tricks. Suggestions on how to improve the guide are always appreciated. Thanks for reading.

This guide was written by Xavarir