Guide to understanding Mikan and other chain buffersEdit
Forgive me if this sits elsewhere, but it's been asked a bunch lately and I decided to finally try my hand at writing a quick synopsis of how Mikan and other chain buffers work. The goal is to help newer players understand this feisty little girl, but advanced tips are welcome.
So what does this chick do, anyway?Edit
Mikan is in a class most of us call the "Chain buffer," which means she will boost the output of (almost) everybody's DASH attacks. Also in this group are Eris the Dancer, Card Soldier, Cyclops, Rock the Thief, and Goblin Tank (to name most of them). When you get a chain of the proper length, the damage/heal will increase significantly.
Does the chain buffer need to be part of the chain?Edit
Nope! The buffer just needs to be part of the team. (Question asked by sebbrewski below, forgot to add this!)
All these chain buffers say ATK/Heal. Do they only boost attack?Edit
Nope! The chain buffers will all boost ALL DAMAGE and heal - so they will also increase earth, fire, and water damage. Note that they boost heal as well, this is an important trick.
Can I use a chain that's greater than the length shown?Edit
Nope again! Chain buffers work on EXACTLY that length of chain, which means that if you get a 4-chain with your 6* mikan, she will not boost it at ALL.
Is it permanent?Edit
No. Unlike Lulu, Ringo, etc., a chain buff works ON THIS CHAIN and then disappears. It is not attack for the whole turn or for the round. You will not see it appear in the icons below the map. The only indication will be the damage number that shows up over each hero's head when you start the third link in the chain - you should see everything take a massive leap.
So if it just affects the chain, what's all the fuss about?Edit
Chain buffers buff EVERYTHING IN THE CHAIN (except lulu or ringo's "buff dash"). This means all your %buffs (Weapon master's 60% fire buff, for example, or Aria's/Yeti's water buff), this means any swords or heals. Let's take Weapon master for example crossing over a 100% bonus attack sword:
On his own:
(10k fire * 1.65 (element boost)) * ( 1 (base damage) + 1 (the sword is doubling his damage) + 0.3 (the standard 3chain buff)) = 37,950 damage per hit.
When we add Mikan to this, we take that last 2.3 and add another 1.3, to get...59,400 per hit. That's before critical. If we add Link dragon to this mighty team (Hey, we have a 10k dmg weapon master, we probably have won a raid boss or two), that original 10k is now multiplied by 2.37 instead (Link's 72%) to give us ... 85,320 per hit.
This is WAYYYYY different math than perfect attacks, which are guaranteed to hit only once per turn and that are only boosted by critical. Can you imagine this guy waltzing over a 6-block boss (where, directly in the middle, you are hitting all six squares twice, and then 4 times on each of the outside 4, two 3, eight 2 and four 1)? 6+6+4+4+4+4+3+3+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+1+1+1+1 = 54 hits at 85320 per hit = 4,607,280 damage NOT including critical. (someone double check my math on that). That's just him - the same concept is applied to EVERY member of the chain.
Cool! So then a bunch of critical hitters should be great then, right?!Edit
Not so fast. Critical hits ARE helpful, but Mikan allowing OTHER buffs to show through is what really makes her shine. So before you polish off that Didi/Kiki/Li combo, let's remember some basic criticals math: every 10% of critical is essentially a 20% boost in average damage (at best, and the math gets really complicated from here so just take it as a rough guide and go with it). So if we take your Li, add in Didi (15% boost) and Kiki (16% boost), those other two heroes have just added 31% crit. Not bad, right?! Except that means they only added about a 62% damage boost. We could have added Jane the Jungle girl and boosted wood 58% with ONE hero - Bond girl would have added a whopping 70% on TOP of that, making all THREE of their attacks 128% more powerful. That means using synergy just gave us an additional 66% that Mikan is going to multiply.
Not all crit is bad - two buffers and one crit booster makes a good balance. Mono boosting is KEY here, unless you're walking around with Luna or Ming!
So when is the buff applied?Edit
The buff is applied WITH swords and the standard buffer addition. That means 1.3x for chain, 1.3x for mikan and the swords add together to produce the second buff (the first buff is the sum of your elemental/atk % passives, which is then multiplied by this second buff). You can calculate it by taking he "single" attack for your chain, and multiply by 2.6+swords (0.5,1,1.5) for mikan. Note that when you do the math for Vega, every hero is hitting for a whopping 5x (2x default + 3x from vega) their already BOOSTED damage.
So where does the PA buff come in?Edit
It doesn't. Tooooottally different heroes, mechanics, etc. And please note, the PA counts as a separate "chain" of 0 length and so is not boosted by any chain buffers. C'mon, if it were that easy, everyone would be slaughtering 23-12 Hell.
Drawbacks (added in from videriant's request below)Edit
The chain buffer might be incredibly powerful in its own right, but it's hardly a one-size fits all. Without a team that boosts the damage of choice, you're really going to have less damage than a PA/Crit team. You're also going to be highly RNG dependent, as you will REQUIRE chains of the correct length (many people do not run Mikan as the sole buffer in PVP just for this reason). The AI enjoys making 2-chains, so Eris and Goblin tank both are highly valuable defense players, but you may not want to run Mikan or other 3-chain buffers on auto-mode or defense. The game has no prioritization to fix this issue, so you will have to adjust your team for it instead (see 11(b)).
Advanced teambuilding tipsEdit
A) To maximize mikan and other buffers, note that the VARIETY of attacks is important, so that more of your enemies can be hit by the chain. This is a great time for using horizontal lasers and 2-block dashers like kiki or aria, who can get on the fringes and still hit a lot of the board while your 8-block dasher hogs the center. Note that when you HAVE a chain that will work, PA should NOT be your concern - don't worry about using all the squares of the board so much as getting the best amount of hits with that chain!
B) Especially after the last tip, Perfect Attacks and chain buffers seem to be like oil and water, but they're not. A PA booster as a team member is a valuable addition to help mop up the board when it goes right or to help do damage when you don't get the chain you want. Consider adding Lulu for a 5th member, along with one crit, two big boosters and Mikan herself. This way you have a devastating chain at a certain number of links, but you can still take advantage of 4- and 5- chains when they come available, as well as still do a little damage when the board just gives you absolute crap. (Thanks THOG for teaching me this one, it's saved me some frustration)
C) HEALERS BUFF TOO! Have trouble with that nasty level? Try packing Clara on your team and put her in the 3-chain any time you need healed up. She'll bring your whole team to full health like she was using her special. If you have Eris or goblin tank, all the better, because you can do it in TWO chains, which can be pretty much guaranteed to be pulled off every turn. (thanks Dorayaki for teaching me this - CR is soooo much easier now)
List of chain buffersEdit
- Eris the Dancer 5* 150%
- Mikan the Idol 5* 130%
- Vega the Gambler 4* 130%
- Rock the Thief 6* 90%
- Nana the Fairy 5* 90%
- Cyclops 6* 75%
- Rock the Thief 5* 75%
- Cyclops 4* 60%
- Card Soldier 4* 60%
- Rock the Thief 4* 60%
- Vega the Gambler 5* 150%
- Mikan the Idol 6* 130%
- Eris the Dancer 4* 130%
- Nana the Fairy 6* 70%
- Card Soldier 5* 70%