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[Character Guide] Persephone

This guide was written by @Aphotix

Persephone is a fragile character who relies heavily on matchup knowledge and successive combat wins. If you like to mess with your opponent’s options and take total control over the game, then Persephone might be the character for you.

Innate Ability - Dominance

Persephone’s innate ability allows her to recur her most powerful cards over and over whenever she lands a move that knocks down. Due to her below average damage, it is important to trigger Dominance multiple times in a row in order to have enough cards to finish off the opponent. She can trigger Dominance with normal throws (7-10), Wild Ride (K), Power Lash (J), and On Your Knees (AA), but primarily with On Your Knees, since it is a fast combat card, and combos off of normal attacks and throws.

Late Game Control & Locking The Opponent Out

Persephone is a control character who needs to build up her resources before having an advantage. Once she hits a critical mass of cards, she can use Mistress’s Command and Bare Your Soul (10*) to cripple her opponent’s options. Since Mistress’s Command allows you to see the opponent’s hand and waste their best card, you can set up situations where your opponent is nearly defenseless against you. If you are able to remove all of their blocks and attacks faster than 0.4, then landing a knock down will guarantee that your On Your Knees super attack will win. You can use that knockdown that it provides to recur Bare Your Soul over and over, which allows you to feed the opponent more cards which cannot beat On Your Knees. At this point, the game is essentially over, however, it isn’t always that easy!

Sometimes, the opponent will have too many blocks and fast attacks to strip all of them away. In these situations, you can try to limit the opponent to only even or odd blocks, or take away their fastest throws. If you manage either of those, the next step is to land a knock down. Then, alternate between playing On Your Knees, the mix up normal that they cannot block or the throw that they cannot outspeed, and dodging. All of these options lead to another knock down, and decent damage. If you win combat, you will have them right back in the same situation, except you’re building up more cards! To finish them off, you can try to land a throw or mix up normal that ends in Rapid Lashes (J), which is a special move that allows her to spend a lot of her extra cards to deal high damage. Overall, this strategy is less consistent, so you should try to land Mistress’s Command as often as you can in order to set up the guaranteed win.

Understanding Your Abilities

Persephone’s signature ability is Mistress’s Command. Due to its relatively slow combat speed, Persephone often has to dodge an attack then follow up with it. Whenever she hits with Mistress’s Command, she gets three extremely powerful benefits. The first is that she is able to make her opponent play their most relevant card in combat, which you can use to set up a knockdown or deal huge damage. The next two benefits interact her other two abilities in subtle ways.

The second benefit is that she is able to activate abilities in her opponent’s hand until the combat-reveal step. On top of forcing the opponent to use abilities when they do not want to, she can also player her counter, Do As Told (9*), on the ability. Because Persephone is controlling the opponent’s actions, she gets to decide whether they pay the life or let the ability be countered. This combination is extremely deadly, and it often scares the opponent into using abilities before they want to in order to prevent this from happening.

The last benefit is that Persephone gets complete information about the opponent’s hand, which helps her Bare Your Soul ability come to life. When she knows exactly what her opponent lacks, she can continue locking them out of drawing those things with repeated Bare Your Soul activations. If you are able to hit with Mistress’s Command multiple times in a single game, it’s entirely possible to run the opponent out of a crucial option, such as blocks, then force them to never draw another block.

Surviving The Early Game

During the early turns, Persephone is one of the weakest characters in the game. Her throws have few viable combos, and are generally not worth the risk until she has strong cards to recur with Dominance. Her most threatening attack, On Your Knees, is almost never available to her early on. That leaves her with only one fast option, Rising Pleasure (Q). However, Rising Pleasure has a low upside of 9 damage, which is not impressive considering that Persephone only starts with 75 life.

Outside of that, she can try to poke an opposing throw with a normal attack or Mistress’s Command. The problem with those options are that her normal attacks have a low payoff until she has accumulated a combo, and risking losing Mistress’s Command to a block is a terrible scenario. Due to her low starting life, blocking is inherently risky for Persephone throughout the entire game, because any throw combo that the opponent lands can take off 25% of her life easily.

The Importance Of Powering Up & The Recurring Ace Trick

Unlike other characters, Persephone doesn’t lose access to her cards when she uses them to power up. Due to her innate ability, her discard pile functions as a bank in some ways. It is usually worth giving up pairs or triples of a powerful card rank in order to get aces.

With most characters, you want to power up aces from your discard pile, so you still have a chance to draw more aces from your deck. However, it is vital that Persephone always leaves at least one ace in her discard pile, so that she can get it back whenever she triggers Dominance.

Card Analysis

Attack 2 dmg, speed 2.4, 1 CP normal // Dodge
This card has two main uses. The first, and more important, is to act as a dodge. Persephone only has twelve dodges in her deck, and needs access to them consistently in order to function at full capacity. The more niche use for 2 attack is to attempt a mix up while the opponent is knocked down. The best combos you can do when you hit with a 2 attack are:
Her 2 attack might seem relatively fast, being 2.4 speed, however it trades extremely unfavorably with just about every other 2.4 speed attack in the game, and should not be used defensively often.

Attack 3 dmg, speed 3.4, 1 CP normal // Dodge
The primary function for this card is to dodge. This is her fastest odd numbered normal, so you can use it to mix up knocked down opponents.

Attack 4 dmg, speed 4.4, 1 CP normal // Dodge
Once again, the main use for this card is to dodge. It can also be used in straights or comboed off of a throw.

5 and 6
**Attack 5 dmg, speed 5.4, 1 CP normal // Block **
Attack 6 dmg, speed 6.4, 1 CP normal // Block
These two cards are Persephone’s preferred blocks. While they deal high damage, they are hard to hit with. The only combos these cards are involved in are:

Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 7.6, 2 CP Starter
This is Persephone’s fastest throw. Since Persephone relies so heavily on getting knockdowns, this card is almost always used as a throw.

Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 8.6, 2 CP Starter
Since Persephone has eight throws that are faster than her 8, it ends up being a block rather often.

*Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 9.6, 2 CP Starter // Do As Told
This card is primarily used for its ability. Discarding your relatively weak 9 results in one of two outcomes: either their ability is countered, and the card they spent on their ability is wasted, or they take 10 damage, which is far better than her 9 would do otherwise.

*Block // Throw (KD) 7 dmg, speed 10.6, 2 CP Starter // Bare Your Soul
This is a good ability in the late game, but you can use this to block early on. Remember, you can retrieve it later through Dominance, so don’t be afraid to use it as a block!

Jack: Rapid Lashes / Power Lash
Rapid Lashes: Attack 7+4 (+2 Any) (3) dmg, speed 2.4, 1 CP Ender // Power Lash: Attack (KD) 10 (3) dmg, speed 4.0, Can’t Combo
Rapid Lashes is a late game finisher. Since it costs a lot of cards to deal maximum damage, you often want to ensure that your opponent does not have a joker in their hand, which you can set up with Mistress’s Command. Power Lash is an early game attack that you can use after dodging, or to hit a throw that you forced them to play with Mistress’s Command.

Queen: Rising Pleasure
Attack 9 (2) dmg, speed 0.2, 3 CP Ender
This is Persephone’s best early game defense card. 0.2 speed is extremely fast, and will beat the majority of cards that her opponents will be trying to beat her down with early on.

King: Wild Ride
Throw (KD) 9 dmg, speed 8.0, 2 CP Starter
A highly damaging and fairly fast throw. It is relevant throughout the game and is one of Persephone’s best ways of evening out a life disadvantage.

Ace: Mistress’s Command / On Your Knees
*Mistress’s Command: Attack 1 dmg, speed 3.0, Can’t Combo // On Your Knees: Attack (KD) 16 (3) dmg, speed 0.4, 2 CP Ender AA // Mistress’s Command
We’ve already gone over these! Aces are Persephone’s best cards by far. Power up for them, hit with them, love them.

Due to her low life, Persephone generally does not get the luxury of using Gold Burst, despite loving aces. Don’t be afraid to Rewind Time fairly early, because opponents will often avoid holding onto high damage cards in fear of having them stripped away by Mistress’s Command.

This guide was written by @Aphotix


These refer to beta version of Rapid Lashes. When released, Rapid Lashes was reduced to (+2 Any) making it much closer to On Your Knees in terms of total damage done, and removing much of its utility as an end-game play.

Power Lash remains extremely viable as a play when controlling the opponent, as a Dodge follow-up, or played raw against Grapplers (especially Rook, where it beats all his Normal Attacks and doesn’t allow Rock Armor).


Thanks Eric! I’ve edited the guide to reflect the correct (final) version of Rapid Lashes. It’s real “late game role” seems at this point to be granting Persephone a 30 damage reach, either on a proper knockdown turn, or more realistically off Mistress’ Command with either K6J++ or 456J++.

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Poll: Would perse be better if 7 was attack/throw?

Maybe a bit? Probably not enough to make a difference one way or another. 567J+++ is three more damage, (34 instead of 31), and K7J+++ is one more (32 instead of 31), but both of those combos are finishers - in every situation where those are not guaranteed lethal, you’re probably going for AA ender anyway, so the 7 attack isn’t really relevant.

I guess it gives you 4567 for 22 daamge and 2 Aces instead of 3456 for 18 and 2 Aces. shrugs

If she had a special ability:

"I like pain"
For any combo that uses more than 1 card, she takes 5 less damage.

That would make her deal with her low life-total, make some interactions a lot more interesting, whilst also not changing any of her cards.

To weird?

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I’m not sure how that would work out but if the goal is to make her die less quick to rushdown then then the damage reduction should be applied to combos of 3 or more cards. Characters that like to play two card combos would be hurting big time if the DR applied to them. Midori would just get smashed hard and Arg would struggle even more.

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After my first meeting with the mistress, which ended with a 15/18 win loss in the International Yomi League season 2, I am now experiencing some longing for the character again.

My general strategy with her has been very remenicient of the way I play with Quince. Lots of blocking early, playing defensive and not taking damage, until I can get the vortex and try to win with recurring important cards in the late game.

I wonder what other playes have experimented with?

I am starting to think that maybe a more reckless playstyle might work out. The Q is obviously pretty fast, and both 2 and J are at 2.4 - which in some matchups are indeed to slow, but in most matcuhps it is a relevant attackspeed to contest others 2 attacks or starters. And since you can recur it, it can be fairly oppressive as an attack.

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I once tried to do a strat where you play carefully until they are at about 40 hp while building your hand, then go hard for MC. MC then leads to 31 damage and puts them at 9 for a Q kill(±2 hp). Turns out getting the setup reliably is just too hard. If they exploit your defensive style early, you don’t have the hp cushion characters like Geiger have. If they have a joker in their hand when you mc them then the plan also fails. If you get a good start but your draws don’t line up then you don’t get a chance.

I found that just playing normally will often get you the setup naturally, and going for MC after they hit half health is just a good idea in general.