Most men think they like to gamble. But what have they risked, really? Lum has wagered everything on a single roll of the dice. Lum has made Faustian bargains with the demon of luck himself. Lum has stared into the horrifying abyss of True Random and laughed at its desolate emptiness.
Lum likes to gamble.
- Obscene deck cycling when left alone.
- Uses powerful bank chips better than any other character.
- No truly bad matchups.
- Is a panda.
- Jackpot, while powerful, is unreliable and will sometimes lose you the game.
- Incredibly bank dependent.
- Deck cycling is vulnerable to wounds.
- Often has trouble fighting rushdown in banks with poor defensive options.
Lum’s General Gameplan
Lum is the quintessential “engine” character. His goal is to construct the most unfair puzzle chip deck possible.
II. Puzzle Chips
Chips Lum Loves
- Roundhouse, Punch Punch Kick, One of Each, Axe Kick, X-Copy
These cycling chips have tremendous synergy with Panda’s Bargain, and often lead to an engine where he is drawing his entire deck every turn. If your opponent is not applying any pressure, this is your default plan.
- Dashing Strike
Dashing Strike is Lum’s flagship strategy. His love of cycling chips means he usually has no problems washing the brown arrow. These cycling chips, combined with his amazing drawing potential from Panda’s Bargain, will let him play many Dashing Strikes in the same turn - sometimes all five! Lum has a favorable matchup against nearly everyone if Dashing Strike is in the bank, so look to swap this chip in whenever you can.
Often your biggest decision in Dashing Strike banks is whether you should focus on getting expensive cycling chips in your deck, or if you should start buying Dashing Strikes immediately. If your opponent shows interest in Dashing Strike as well, you should buy them as quickly as possible, as Lum wants at least three in his eventual deck. You should also be planning for quick rushes if your opponent has a late game plan that is even better than yours. For instance, Master Puzzler and X-Copy’d Double Crash Gems both tend to beat you.
Of additional note is that Bang Then Fizzle, normally a bad chip for Lum, becomes very strong when played with Dashing Strike. Just a Bang Then Fizzle and a couple of Dashing Strikes is usually enough to keep your pile below 4 indefinitely.
- Hundred Fist Frenzy
Lum already likes disruptive red chips like Chip Damage or Color Panic, and this makes them even more appealing. Hundred Fist Frenzy lets Lum crash gems without having to buy pesky purples, which often makes this chip a must buy. His tremendous deck cycling ability means he can get it into play obscenely quickly.
As a note, however, if Dashing Strike or Color Panic is not in the pool, Lum will need a fork of some sort to use Hundred Fist Frenzy, or his opponent will simply skip his action phase every time he tries to play it. Gem Essence and One True Style are his best options, but even something like Recklessness can work in a pinch.
- Training Day
Lum has two weaknesses: he dislikes buying money, and he absolutely hates buying purples. Training Day conveniently sidesteps both of these, letting you train them into your deck! As a note, Training Day is sometimes less than ideal for Lum without forks from the bank.
- One True Style, Combinatorics
Because of Panda’s Bargain, Lum hates orbs, and these let him get away with buying the bare minimum. The 6-pile requirement on Combinatorics works well with Living on the Edge, and Lum has two (unreliable) brown to black washers already in his deck. If either of these is in the pool, Lum should usually only buy a single Combine, and then rely on multiples of these chips to do the rest.
Mixmaster isn’t quite as good as the previous two pseudo-combines because it is an Ender. However, even if a fork isn’t in the bank to support Mixmaster, it’s a nice tool for preventing the opponent from crashing a 4-gem before you can handle it.
- Color Panic, Chip Damage
These trade a chip in your hand for chips in theirs. Since Lum draws so many chips, it’s a no-brainer that this is great on him. Often in the late game, you will be able to strip your opponent’s hand of all his purples, effectively forcing him to skip a turn.
- Stolen Purples
Lum loves when this is in the bank, because not only does it mean he doesn’t ever have to buy orbs (he can just steal theirs!), it also means his opponents can’t buy too many orbs either. Against hard econ characters like Grave or Setsuki, their main advantage over Lum (access to Double Crash Gems) is nullified. Against rushdown, their plan of crashing 4’s at you is slowed considerably.
- It’s a Trap, Secret Move, Button Mashing
The main theme of each of these chips is that they are cheap buys that remove themselves from your deck and don’t cost an arrow. This, in itself, is a useful function, as Lum benefits from a thin deck more than anyone.
A primary use for these chips is to use them (indirectly) as a defense against rushdown. To do this, you spend the first 1-2 cycles buying only combines and a crash. Then, enter Panda’s Bargain and spend the rest of the game buying your cycler of choice. In banks with no other real option, this is a surprisingly robust way to defend against a rush.
For It’s a Trap, you will usually want to trap Combine (for obvious reasons). Double Crash Gem is also a solid choice. Secret Move can be used to store Living on the Edge.
- Gem Essence, Degenerate Trasher, It’s Combo Time
Lum wants to cycle his deck every turn because it lets him get the most use out of what little purples he can afford to put in his deck. One way is to use cycling chips like Roundhouse. But these chips do it a different way: by trashing the 1-gems out of your deck. It’s Combo Time actually goes a step farther and does both.
Of course, Gem Essence is much easier to buy and is the strongest option. But your opponent can often make good use of Gem Essence as well, which means that the two expensive chips often give Lum a bigger edge (if he can get to them). Whatever the case, these are all powerful options for Lum.
Furthermore, be careful about Gem Essence in pools with Really Annoying. Gem Essence can’t trash wounds, and often if you try to use it vs. a smart opponent, you’ll find you’ve done nothing but replace your money with wounds!
Chips Lum Fears
- Ouch!, Really Annoying, Just a Scratch
Just as cycling chips synergize with the extra draw from Panda’s Bargain, wounds greatly diminish the effectiveness of Lum’s extra draws. If Ouch! is in the pool, you should consider buying Thinking Ahead or even Blues are Good to try to prevent some activations. The good news is your combines are usually protected due to you drawing your deck so quickly (making it unlikely to have a discard most of the time).
- Self Improvement
A lot of the time, Lum doesn’t care about this chip, or even wants it in the pool to defend against attacks. But in banks where Lum is at his best (namely, ones that have Color Panic and Dashing Strike), Self Improvement is a serious counter. Be careful about blindly going for attack spam when this is in the pool.
- Master Puzzler, The Hammer
Lum starts with 6 1-gems, a Crash Gem, and Jackpot. This is a fair amount of early money, which gives him a nice head start against most characters in money. However, because he does not get bonus draws from buying gems, he prefers to avoid buying money after the first two turns.
As a result, Lum is adept at getting to 6 or even 8 very quickly. But 12 is a huge stretch. On the other hand, some characters (Gloria, Setsuki, or Grave) have no trouble buying money and more money and more money on top of that. Since Lum has trouble buying Combines, it can be difficult to stop them from getting to 12. And once they buy a golden chip, whatever you were doing is going to look weak and irrelevant in comparison.
III. General Tips
- One of Lum’s biggest decisions is whether he should play Jackpot or not. In general, the chip is less risky to play in the early game, where an opponent’s hand is mostly gems, and much more risky to play later, when their deck will become filled with more and more puzzle chips. Try to keep track of the number of gems your opponent is buying or crashing; while usually not relevant, this information is actually crucial when deciding if Jackpot is a sufficiently safe play. While Jackpot can act as an OK brown to black washer early, in the late game you shouldn’t depend on it.
- Buying a Combine and losing Panda’s Bargain always feels awful. But what is important is that sometimes you actually don’t have a choice, and are going to die if you don’t. Although pseudopurples in the bank can go a long way, often there truly isn’t a way to win without purples. If this is the case, buy Combines earlier rather than later, as it is often easier to get Panda’s Bargain back into play in the early game.
- Living on the Edge is a powerful enough effect that it is worth pigging for next turn if you think you will be above 10.
- Since Lum draws so many chips, ender management is even more important than it is for other characters. Be careful not to put yourself in situations where you are drawing chips you can’t play!
Matchups Lum Loves
Lum is a unique character in that his matchups do not depend so much on the character, but on the bank. In a good bank, Lum can beat pretty much anyone, while the opposite is true if Lum is unlucky and gets a weak bank. However, Lum’s best matchups are midrange characters that can’t out-econ him well, but can’t rush him down particularly well either. In particular, DeGrey’s Pilebunker is mostly useless against Lum, since Lum avoids buying money anyway.
Matchups Lum Fears
Lum’s least favorite matchups are heavy econ characters and heavy rushdown characters, since both need a reasonably extreme bank to counter. In particular, Setsuki and Grave like many of the same chips Lum does, but in the late game have easy access to Double Crash Gems, which gives them the advantage. On the aggressive side, Vendetta can be especially annoying, particularly if he is able to knock Panda’s Bargain out of Lum’s hand on the first turn.
Guide written by vivafringe in 2012 for fantasystrike.com