This is a general beginner's strategy guide on Kongai. It's more focused on three-card decks, but the information can come in handy playing five-card games.
The ultimate goal of the game is to kill all three of your opponent's cards, while not letting him kill all three of your cards. So your goals:
- Kill the opponent's cards.
- Don't let the opponent kill your cards.
How do cards die? They die when their hit points are reduced to zero. Hit points are reduced when damage is done. So we can refine our two principles a bit:
- Do damage to your opponent.
- Don't let your opponent do damage to you.
It is easy to miss in the heat of battle, but everything you do should be geared to achieving either of those two things. Let's explore more!
Do damage to your opponentEdit
There are two main ways of doing damage: a) Attacking your opponent when you have sufficient energy to do your moves, and having your opponent do an action that leaves them open to attack; b) Intercepting your opponent when he chooses to switch. Ordinarily, you want to do the move that gives you the most "bang for the buck"; that is, you do the most amount of damage for the least amount of energy expended. The complexity comes in when moves have special effects.
For example, Helene has several attacks; one that does 30 damage and costs 30 energy, and one that does 20 damage and costs 45 energy. But the 45 energy move also has a special property; it cancels the enemy's attack this turn if it hits first! Since it is a fast move, it is very likely to hit first. If you do this move and the enemy does a slower attack, you will have done some damage and prevented the enemy from doing any damage to you. You gain!
Don't let your opponent do damage to youEdit
Taking some damage is mostly unavoidable, but we try to minimize the damage done to us. There are three main methods: a) Switching out when you anticipate a damaging, high-energy attack; b) selecting characters who have high resistances against your opponent's card's main damage type; c) selecting ranges that are unfavourable to your opponent.
The first one is fairly self-explanatory. For b), consider the matchup of Higashi vs Onimaru. Onimaru has 10 resistance against physical damage. Higashi's main attacks are all physical. Therefore, Onimaru is good against Higashi. For c), let's say you are up against Ashi. Ashi has no long range attacks. Therefore, if you are at long range, there is no way for her to damage you.
Energy and HealthEdit
The next thing to understand is the role of energy. Energy lets you do moves. Moves generally reduce enemy health. So basically, your energy can be traded for the enemy's health, the proportion depending on the exact characters and moves involved.
What does this mean? Basically, you want to find ways of exchange your energy for his health that are favourable to you. You also want to prevent him from doing the same. In addition, even if you both exchange energy to health in roughly the same ratios, you will have the advantage if you have more total energy. Do you see why?
How do you get more energy? You can get more energy by switching when your active character is low on energy, and your reserve characters have full energy.
Switching characters is an important part of the game, for two reasons: From the three cards in your hand, you can choose the best one to deal with the current opponent (i.e. resistances and attacks); and it also brings your energy up to the maximum. The disadvantages are that if your switch is predicted, it is costly to you. This doesn't always mean intercept - for me, even if I am 50%+ sure that the opponent will switch, frequently I won't intercept. Instead, I will rest, and when they come in I will hit them with a huge attack that they can't dodge by switching out again.
It is most advantageous for you to switch when the current matchup is especially bad for you, or you are lowest on energy. Your opponents are also most likely to switch when the same is true for them. You can use this information to intercept more successfully, and to disguise your switch-outs!
Now I'll recommend a starting team that is easy to use and versatile. This team should serve you well until you decide you want to be more fancy.
Item: General's Insignia
- Bad against: Onimaru, Helene, Tafari, Ashi
- Okay against: Higashi, Rumiko, Cornelius Constantine
- Good against: Everyone else
Against anyone but the "bad matchups", your strategy is simple. When close, do open palm. When far, do dashing strike or chi blast as appropriate. Intercept if you think they will switch.
Against Onimaru, switch out to Cornelius or Helene when you get the chance. Against Helene, switch out to Voss or Cornelius. Against Tafari, go to far range and rest until you have 80 energy (so that you can threaten him with Chi Blast). He'll either switch out or move close. Then do Open Palm on him a lot (take a Leafy Trap hit if you have to). Against Ashi, switch to Rumiko or Helene.
- Bad against: Onimaru, Higashi, Ashi, Ambrosia Thorn (sometimes)
- Okay against: Everyone else
- Good against: Marquis Le Morte, Amaya
Your main weapons are Double Slash and Radiance Burst. Vanessa does very well against characters with high dark resistance, because of her innate. Ray of Light is only a situational weapon, because its energy cost is too high for its damage.
Use Radiance Burst to finish off enemy benched characters with very low hitpoints. Otherwise, go to close range, and do Double Slash a lot. Switch out against bad matchups.
Item: Scroll of Inner Focus
Because of Rumiko's innate, no one will try to intercept you (except maybe a Higashi). If they think you'll switch, they will probably rest. Therefore, Rumiko has no bad matchups because she can switch out, the exception being Tafari. Against Tafari move far and use Shuriken Barrage before he Leafy Traps. Then hope that you win in a Poison Dart war. Shuriken Barrage will do 24 damage if it hits. At that point it will take 4 or 5 darts for either of you to kill the other depending on if the poison happens. The problem is that if he gets unlucky he can still switch.
Against Anex and Andromeda Rumiko will be unable to switch safely at far. For Anex move close as even if they stay far this will ensure that Anex won't be able to threaten with Power Toss then if close switch. If they stay far Shuriken Barrage, then if they rest switch or Shuriken Barrage again if they used Boomerang and then switch the next turn. For Andromeda move close. If she stayed far use Shuriken Barrage. If she used Rain of Arrows then use Shuriken Barrage again, if she used Trueshot and it crit switch. If she used Trueshot and it didn't crit things get tricky as she is probably going to switch but she may use Lightning Arrow expecting that you will intercept. After that she will have to guess if you used Shuriken Barrage or switched and will have a 50/50 shot to kill you. Your best bet is to use Shuriken Barrage and then switch next turn.
Yoshiro and Ambrosia will cause problems for you if they're close and you want to switch. Against Yoshiro try to move far then switch. Against Ambrosia let her pick. If close Eviscerate if far trade Shuriken Barrage for Bleeding. If you have 40 HP and she has 50 energy move far. Don't bother using Ninja Port.
When you are at close range, your objective is to get to far range. This can be done through eviscerate / ninjaport, or by just doing ninjaport. When at far range, you should do shuriken.
If your opponent is stronger at far you can also eviscerate then if stun, rest and repeat or if not stun eviscerate again. Every time you eviscerate and then rest you will have enough energy to eviscerate again. This can be a good way to force your opponent far or to switch.
Rumiko's moves take up a lot of energy. Therefore, you will want to quickly use up all of her energy, then switch out. This puts you ahead in the energy game.
- Bad against: Rumiko, Amaya, Ubuntu
- Okay against: Everyone else
- Good against: Ashi (without Valkyrie's Charm), Juju, Tafari
All of Cornelius's moves are useful. His bread and butter is voidstream, because it is cheap, does decent damage, and reduces resistance. Pilebunker is very cheap for its damage - not only does it do 50 damage, it has a chance to do 20 extra dark damage! That is enough to kill some characters in one hit. Hypnotic stare is great against slow close-range characters such as Ashi, because it shuts down their most powerful moves. However, as a side note, Ashi can pick between Axe Handle, which beats Hypnotic Stare, or Power Swing, to prevent a Pilebunker or to switch herself out of the matchup.
Cornelius is useless when he is at low health, because his moves are slow. Therefore, there is not as much advantage to switching him out for full energy as it would be for someone else who had high speed moves.
Cornelius is bad against Rumiko because Pilebunker will never hit her - Ninjaport will always hit first. Hypnotic stare doesn't prevent Ninjaport from setting the range to far. When at far range, Shuriken Barrage damages Cornelius. You should try to switch out. Cornelius is bad against Amaya for much the same reason, though not as bad.
Ubuntu is a tough battle for Cornelius because his innate shuts down the possibility of Pilebunker and even if he moves he still has enough energy for Spirit Assistance. Your best bet here is to switch.
Your strategy is to do a mix of Voidstream and Pilebunker, and use Hypnotic Stare when appropriate. It is fairly safe to switch out Cornelius, because there are no obvious signs that you need to switch, and so your opponent will find it difficult to intercept correctly. Cornelius has the potential to beat all but two characters 1v1 if played correctly, it's your job to make the right call.
- Bad against: Cornelius Constantine, Ubuntu, Marquis Le Morte
- Okay against: Everyone else
- Good against: Higashi, Rumiko, Marquis Le Morte (if Valkyrie's Charm)
Helene is fun to play because she can do all three types of damage. If you are up against someone with high dark resistance, your best bet is to Enchant Blade and threaten them with a Frenzied Strikes. Against people with scary moves (such as Juju's Touch of Doom), you may want to Shield Bash them to prevent the move from happening. Keep in mind, though, that shield bash is only speed 6 and is 45 energy. If you want to stop a move, make sure it's worth that 45 energy you're spending.
Marquis Le Morte is nothing for you if you have Valkyrie's Charm and even if you don't you still have a fair shot at him. Start by going far (as odd as that sounds). Enchant Blade and he will either Teleport, intercept or Blood Burn. If he Blood Burns switch when you think it's safe, otherwise Enchant Blade until he comes to you. If you have the Charm, Shield Bash then Frenzied Strike. If you don't have the Charm, Frenzied Strike twice, Frenzied Strike then intercept or just switch.
The opponent will often set the range to far. This means you will need 80-90 (50 for range change, 30-40 for sword slash/frenzied strikes) to be threatening. Because Helene is energy intensive if opponent changes range frequently, you may need to switch her out often.
- Bad against: Rumiko, Yoshiro (Generals Insignia), Helene, Vanessa Voss
- Okay against: Everyone else
- Good against: Ranec, Rathbone, Cornelius Constantine
Bestor is easy to use and highly effective in many different matchups. Anyone who is close range and can be killed in 2 turns from FSF is generally a favorable matchup for Bestor, as Flaming Sword Frenzy is likely faster than their attacks, and it costs a mere 40 energy. Engulfing Flame allows him to stand toe to toe with them and trade blows well, particularly if he can switch out to recouperate with the flame stacks.
Bestor is very good at trading blows with close range tanks, typically being able to kill them before being killed himself.
2nd Starter TeamEdit
This is the starter team of another user. I'm making another one because the first has six cards, and a kongai deck can only either be 5 card or 3 card. First, I'll cover the basics of a starter team. You must consider lots of stuff in your deck. Here's a bunch of stuff to think about: How many monorangers are in my deck? Is the energy game good in general? Bad? Do I have interrupting moves? Stun moves? Do I have team buffs? Do I have team debuffs? What's the basic style my team plays in? Do I have fast moves/characters? Do I have slow moves/characters? Do I have tanks? Tricksters? Do I have good dark moves/dark resistances? Light? Physical?
You don't have to go and make sure every one of these are satisfied. Just try to consider some basic things and make sure that you cover as many weaknesses as you can. Every team has at least one weakness. Just try to eliminate as much as you can, and try to not have your weaknesses be so easy to identify. I'll suggest a team I use and manage to go well. It might not be the best, because I'm not really a pro, but please at least try it!
Cornelius Constantine, the SuaveEdit
A Reader CommentsEdit
I have heard that a beginner should delay picking starter cards. Play with Random (All Cards) decks. While your total card count is low, the chance for getting a card after a win is high. After you win 8 cards, then pick 3 starter items to complement the characters you won. An additional advantage to this approach is that you will get first-hand experience with all the cards and the random characters will be fully (though randomly) equipped.
Belthus 13:17, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I advise not picking starter cards until you have at least 10 cards, because the rate of winning a new card goes down as soon as you have 10 cards; you should profit from the high rate as long as you can.
Cerberus™ 03:09, January 7, 2010 (UTC)