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[Character Guide] Playing with Fire

This guide was written by Akawashi (formerly NeoMelodico)

guide structure

  1. card by card analysis
  2. general gameplan
  3. matchup considerations / tips

it’s not very fast, so you will use it more as a dodge than as an attack; the red ones do 1 chip damage. you can use 2s to retrieve aces if you have other dodges.

you will almost never use it as an attack, unless in certain KD situation in which you KNOW your opponent is gonna block, and you think that block might be even.

you’ll use it mostly as a dodge, but the 3 chip damage of the red 4s can be very handy, especially in the lategame and in conjunction with unstable power + some smoldering embers in the discard pile.

same as 4, but here the chip damage is 4.

use the throw side if you have at least one 10 to pump (you need the other cards); you can easily use 6s to power up for aces; you can use them in combos, like throw -> 6 -> AA

jaina’s fastest throw is home of her unstable power.

let’s focus on unstable power (from now on UP) and its uses: UP, when played in the draw phase, makes you able to rotate an ATTACK you revealed (so you can’t rotate 7, 8, 9 or 10, and be careful, if you play, for example, a 2 dodge, you CAN’T rotate it, you must play the attack side); if you win combat and hit your opponent in the turn UP was played, you can search you discard pile or deck for 2 aces (even if you get jokered); if you don’t, you lose 7 life points.

that said, how to use UP?

when you use UP it’s mostly a coin flip: your opponent will either block / dodge (if he thinks you are going to use 2, 3, 4 or 5) OR attack (if he thinks you are going to throw him); be careful against rook and troq, as they can use their K to make you lose 15 life points (you still get the aces): 5 will screw them. people almost never use throw in UP turns.

the main uses of UP are two:

  1. get aces;
  2. checkmate the opponent in the lategame.

the first point needs no explanations; for the second, i’ll give you an example: you have more than 7 life points, you opponent has 4 lp; you have 2 smoldering embers in the discard pile, a red five and a UP in hand. what do you do?

you use UP and play 5 attack:

  • if he dodges, the 2 smoldering embers in the discard will burn him to death
  • if he attacks, you rotate the 5 and proceed to kill
  • if he blocks, you kill him with the 4 chip damage of the 5

in some situations you can use 7 as a throw (i.e. you put your opponent in a dodge / block - throw range or you KNOW you can win if you throw and 7 is your only throw option)
never block with 7 unless in extreme situations.

jaina’s fastest non UP throw. it’s preferable to throw with 8s, but in most situation there won’t be much difference between throwing with 8 or 10 (you should avoid throw clashes with jaina). you can use them for powering up but try to keep a pair of blocks.

see 8

when you have 10s, they are your first blocks / throws, since you want them in your discard as soon as possible. however, don’t be reckless with 10 throw. you can use 10 as a throw when you use UP and you decide to throw.

one might think jaina’s J sucks, and want to get rid of them in change of aces asap. while the second part of the sentence is pretty agreeable, jaina’s J has its uses. it’s pretty nice, especially in the early game, against grapplers (you can even go for the charged shot against them) thanks to the big block damage, but can be also used against opponents who tend do block a lot in the first stages of the match. they are decent combo enders too.

one of the best cards of jaina. you’re going to keep these until you unlock burning desperation (unless you really really need a fast reversal) and use it a lot in the lategame. buy it back ALWAYS if your opponent has attacks faster than 0.8 (if he hasn’t you can use aces), unless you are very low on health and you have another queen (you might want to buy it back anyways).

one of the key cards of jaina’s early and mid game. when you attack, you will almost always use your king as a starter: it does good block damage (the same amount of life points you will spend to buy it back), it’s decently fast and you can combo afterwards. it’s not the fastest attack around though, so don’t spam it against opponents who have several faster attacks. always buy Ks back and powerup for aces when you are in burning desperation range.

the core card of jaina’s lategame. aces + Qs + smoldering embers are what makes jaina’s lategame so fearsome and let her perform incredible and exciting comebacks. use letter j to chip away the health of opponents who have few life points left and / or to checkmate them (if you have smoldering embers); use red dragon as a very very fast poke (in the lategame, when you can buy it back) (you might want to use a surprise letter j after some consecutive red dragons to beat things like wall of vines or true power of storms). try to keep at least two aces in your hand in the lategame.

you can use red dragon as a good reversal, even if you have just one ace and you can’t pump.


in the early and mid game (before you get to 35 life points) block a lot (if you have 10s block with them), attack with k, dodge if you can follow up with a 10 or 10s-powered-up 6, and throw with 10s when you feel like your opponent is going to block. don’t combo after throws unless you have aa in hand and you can deal big damage (you will get your aces back soon, don’t worry). you can try to use unstable power against opponents who block a lot to retrieve aces and try throw -> letter j afterwards. don’t try too many cross-up because jaina’s normals are slow. in this part of the game jaina’s goal is to get to the late game without giving her opponent too much life advantage.

once you unlock burning desperation you will start to attack with aces and queens. your opponent will try to dodge/block a lot in this stage of the match, so the key to the win will be throws; a well placed throw (obviously followed by big damage) can open the way to victory. you can even play some dodges (dodge vs dodge is ok because of smoldering embers). try to keep your jokers for this stage of the match, because one wrong guess could mean death. remember that you will often be able to checkmate your opponent, thanks to smoldering embers, unstable power + 4/5 and the chip damage of the aces.

This guide was written by Akawashi (formerly NeoMelodico)