Sub Skills

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Overview

This is briefly mentioned in Card Management.

Many Cards possess Sub Skills that when subbed to your Main Cards in your Deck, can power them up and make them much stronger or confer extra effects.

At Rank 30, you unlock the option to mess around with Sub Cards. Sub Card slots are unlocked by the evolution stage of a card, so a base form card only has 1 slot, but upon each evolution it will gain a second and max out at a third. The full cost of every equipped Sub Card is still applied to your total, so be wary of that. This system is where the true ability to power up your deck lies, but it is mostly inaccessible until very late in your play schedule.
On top of adding their sub skill to the main card, sub cards add Parameter Boost, which is a direct boost to the stats. There is a straight formula for parameter boost, it is:
Stat Boost % = [(Sub Card LVL + Sub Card Cost)*0.2] + [(Sub Card Skill LVL)*2]
The second half of that formula only applies if they share the same skill category, EG a sub card with a Slash.png will only apply the skill level boost to a main card with the same type of skill.

  • Rank 30: Ace unlocks Sub Cards
  • Rank 60: First card in each suit unlocks Sub Cards
  • Rank 90: Second card in each suit unlocks Sub Cards
  • Rank 120: Third card in each suit unlocks Sub Cards
  • Rank 150: Can equip Sub Cards to all cards in deck.

Sub Skill Types

Sub Skills can come in a wide variety, but can be sorted into several different categories:

  • Skill Boost/Efficacy: These generally power up a card's Main Skill, greatly increasing Skill Damage or increasing their Skill Power (better Buffs, Heals, etc.). For Attack cards, these Subs are generally preferred. (As an aside, most Shield and Sustain cards don't really benefit from Skill Boosts with a few exceptions such as Counter Shields and Shield Cards with Stat Boosts.)
  • Damage Boost: These increase the raw Damage that a card does when it attacks. This is calculated after Enemy Armor, but for the most part, is generally inferior to Skill Boosts. Surprisingly, they work pretty well on Elemental cards due to how their Damage Formula is calculated.
  • Additional Effects: This is pretty much a catch-all category, but basically, these Subs will confer additional effects such as Stat Buffs, Status Cleansing, Extra Attacks, and so on.
  • Damage Reduction: These subs generally confer passive Damage Reduction, reducing the incoming damage you take from foes. These are highly useful subs, though the best ones typically only work on the Ace card. For surviving higher difficulties, they are pretty much required.
  • Status Avoidance: For the most part, these Subs offer reduced chances of receiving Status Effects. While they can be pretty useful against foes who love to inflict Status Effects, it's very difficult to stack effectively. It also helps reduce Damage incurred from Poison.
  • Increased Healing: These subs offer increased healing received, meaning that Heal cards heal you for additional HP. These can be quite useful once you start moving towards higher difficulties.
  • Special: Another catch-all category, but generally contains one of two types of Subs. The first are cards that modify Enhance priority, such as the Yata no Kagami, Ham Han, Loki, and Magician. The second are special Sub Cards that offer special effects when subbed on specific cards, such as Dark Matter with Duran, and the Heal Bracelet for Zeus.
  • Other: These subs have Sub Skills that are specific to Dungeons or Colosseum only such as Pom Ringmaster or Gilbert.

Utilizing the Correct Subs

As you play the game, you'll start to amass lots of Cards with varied Sub Skills. That said, you'll need to learn how to utilize them to the best of your ability in order to progess through the game.

In the Early to Mid-Game, you'll be hamstrung by your Total Deck Cost. Meaning you'll need to use a variety of N, R, and S Rarity cards to power up your Cards until you get more Deck Cost to play with.

Basics

For Attack Cards you'll want to utilize Subs with Skill Boosts, as this will directly boost the power of their Main Skill by quite a bit.
Ideally, you want to aim for 35% and higher, but you can go as low as 25% or even 15% (this will reduce effectiveness though).

For Support Cards, this varies depending on the Cards you're using as not every Skill Type benefits from just Skill Boosts.

  • Heal/Buff/Status: Skill Boosts, Additional Effects, Special (Anti-Link or Multiple Activations)
  • Shield/Sustain: Additional Effects, Special (Anti-Link or Multiple Activations)
  • Debuff: Skill Boosts, Special (Anti-Link or Multiple Activations)
  • Enhance: Skill Boosts

Your A Card is a special exception; You'll want to utilize Damage Reduction Subs on your A Card.
These will help greatly reduce incoming damage that you take and are easily the most important Subs you can run across.

Advanced

Once you've gotten towards the Mid to Late Game phase, you should have a good number of Subs amassed to put on your Cards. From here, some important decisions come up on what should be prioritized and what's more effective to Sub.

Conditional and Unconditional

Many Subs will often have a condition of sorts to their Sub Skill. Whether this is a Hand Condition, a Skill Type Condition or maybe no condition at all!
In terms of the Wiki's Pages, here's a brief description of each:

  • Conditional: When referring to Conditional Subs, this is almost always referring to Hand Conditions. Many Subs require a Straight+ Hand in order for their effects to activate for example like Garnet.
  • Unconditional: When referring to Unconditional Subs, this is almost always referring to no Hand Condition present. Many cards nowadays have these types of Subs where the only Condition is often having the right Skill on the Main Card such as Canon.
  • True Unconditional: These Subs have literally no Conditions to activate whatsoever. Reika is a prime example of this, granting a 30% Skill Boost to any card.

Unconditional Subs are highly favored when choosing optimal Subs since you can't always count on getting the right Hand to play out.

Parameter Boost vs Skill Boost

This was mentioned earlier, but when you Sub Cards that have the same Skill Icon as your Main Card, the Main Card gets an extra Parameter Boost, giving you more Stats. Not surprisingly, this not only makes your Main Card that much stronger, but it still adds to your overall HP and Defense. The main point here is at what point do you favor an extra Parameter Boost vs a high Skill Boost? The idea is that you don't. You always want to be aiming for the best Skill Boosts whenever necessary. If the Skill Icon matches, that's even better!

For example, let's say you're choosing whether to Sub Walrus vs Zenon on a Stab Card. Walrus obviously works well on a Stab card, but you need a Straight+ to activate his Sub. Zenon on the other hand works for any Attack Card and is Unconditional to boot! Zenon in this case makes for a better reliable Sub, even if it means you have to sacrifice the added Parameter Boost.

Optimal Subs

The most optimal Subs you can put on your Cards ideally give a large Unconditional Skill Boost (or other great effects) and has a matching Skill Icon to boot. This not only gives your Card a great boost to their Skill, but also increases the Card's Stats adding to your own. That said, it's often hard to get a lot of these for the Cards you need. And for Support Cards, this is often very difficult to do at all.

Non-Optimal is Better?

Yes and no...many of the game's best Subs aren't always the most optimal. Either they'll have the wrong Skill Icon (say like Hibiscus where her Heal Skill will never match up with any Attack Skill), or the Sub itself may have a low Level (such as Special Event Subs which tend to max out at Lv60). Much of this depends on what the Subs themselves are capable of.

Some examples:

  • Duran + Dark Matter + Phaser Gun: This combo of Subs allows for a nice Skill Boost and totally prevents Enhance Linking from occurring. A great combo overall. However, the Gun and Dark Matter are Event Subs and only max out at Lv60. Duran himself only has a Shield Skill and maxes at Lv100/120. So you won't get a good Parameter Boost, but you will have a good combo for any Main Card you don't want taking Links from Enhance Cards.
  • Chidori + Academy Designated Jersey + Academy Designated Jersey: This combo is great for Attack Cards that have Accuracy issues like Rico. Like the aforementioned example, the Subs offer a great combination of benefits, but at the cost of Parameter Boost.
  • Nikita + Hibiscus + Hibiscus: This combo is a little random example set up for Red Attack cards. Here, all three Subs are Unconditional and work well for enemies that inflict Debuffs. The Hibiscus aren't exactly the most optimal Subs, but you don't quite take the hit in Stats like the previous examples. This works quite well as a result.

Sub Order Matters

The order in which you place your Subs does matter in the case of certain Sub Skills. Typically, the Sub Cards will activate in the following order:

  • Slot 1 >>> Slot 2 >>> Slot 3

For certain Sub Card Combinations, this actually makes a huge difference.

Examples:

  • Queen Mother + Queen Mother + Machine Father: This example highlights the combo of Queen Mother and Machine Father. The Queen Mothers will self-inflict Petrify, but when Machine Father is subbed alongside them, he'll clear your Status Effects. However, if Machine Father was in Slot 1, then your Status Effects would get cleared first, then you would get Petrified by the Queen Mothers.
  • Awk.Loki + Awk.Ham Han + Whatever: In this example, this demonstrates how Enhance Blocking effects attempt to activate. First, Loki's Chance would be rolled (55.1%) and then Ham Han (50%). If they were both switched, Ham Han would be rolled first, and you'd get the Power-Up effect more frequently.
  • Awk.Loki + Ancient Mage + Whatever: A 2nd Example of Enhance Blocking. In this instance, Loki attempts to activate first, giving the Card a chance for its Skill to activate multiple times. However, should Loki fail, then the Ancient Mage comes next guaranteeing that the Card isn't Linked (but also only activating once). Once again, Sub Order matters as if the two were swapped, then the Ancient Mage would activate every time and Loki would be a dead Sub.

Subbing Priority

Once you get to a certain point, try to prioritize Subs based on the following order for Attack Cards:

  • Unconditional Optimal
  • Unconditional Non-Optimal
  • Conditional Optimal
  • Conditional

Once you reach towards higher difficulties, Unconditional Subs will be the best Subs to use, since you can't always make the Hands you need.

Notable Subs

The following is a listing of particular Subs to watch out for as they may offer unique effects rarely seen elsewhere or may prove extremely useful to you.

Damage Reduction

As mentioned earlier, these subs generally confer passive Damage Reduction, reducing the incoming damage you take from foes. These are highly useful subs, though the best ones typically only work on the Ace card. For surviving higher difficulties, they are pretty much required as the damage that enemies inflict begins to get higher and higher.

Like many other things in the game, applicable Damage Reduction is multiplicative. So you can effectively keep stacking it to increase the Damage Reduction to a point. Back in the game's infancy, these Subs were relatively hard to get, but nowadays, it's a bit easier as more and more Cards now have this capability.

Here's a list of some great Damage Reduction Subs to watch for:

  • Senjuu: Currently has the highest potential Damage Reduction in the game. It starts at 15% and increases up to 25% as your HP gets lower. You can get up to 2 from previous Events or buy him from the Duel Medal Shop.
  • Amaterasu: Offers a useful Damage Reduction + Skill Boost Sub. Of course, more Gacha cards are getting more and more Subs simlar to this, but Ammy remains the easiest to currently get. You can get up to 3 from previous Events or buy her from the Medal Shop and Duel Medal Shop.
  • Odin: Unlike the aforementioned, Odin actually only works on Enhance Cards and offers a weaker 5% Damage Reduction. However, he also grants a Skill Boost to Enhance Cards and you'll want all the Damage Reduction you can get eventually. You can get up to 3 from the Duel Medal Shop.

Status Clearing

These Subs are highly sought after as the ability to cure Status Effects is very valuable against foes who inflict Status Effects. However, they are also some of the more difficult Subs to get a hold of as not many Cards have this as a Sub Skill. (Though more and more Cards also are starting to have Status Clearing built-in to their Skills now.)

These aren't easy to get, but here's a few to watch for:

  • Sherry: Clears Status Effects if your Main Card is a Girl. Thankfully, Girl cards are VERY common, so she works quite well as Sub.
  • Metatron: Unconditionally clears Status Effects with no restrictions whatsoever. Very great!
  • Awk.Lapis Lazuli: Probably the easiest Card of the bunch to get a hold of, but you have to Awaken her to even get this benefit. You'll also need to be at 85% HP or higher for the Status Clear to work. Decent/Good for any Heal Card.
  • S.Awk Phoenix: If you managed to nab a Phoenix, then he's an amazing Sub for any Heal Card that needs Status Clearing! However, you need to Awaken him twice(!) to even get this Sub, so there is some work involved.

Modifying Enhance Priority

You won't be able to take full advantage of these Subs until much later, but they allow you to keep your Cards from being linked with Enhance Cards. When used in this fashion, the card whose Skill is activated will not be linked with Enhance Cards (either by activating on its own or multiple times). This can be very useful to utilize when you have cards that you don't want to link with Enhance Cards (like Shield or Sustain Skills for example).

A list of these Subs can be found here.

Status Avoidance

Status Avoidance reduces the chance of incurring Status Effects. While this is often worded several different ways with different cards, it's all basically the same thing. Similar to Damage Reduction, applicable Status Avoidance is multiplicative. So you can effectively keep stacking it to increase the Status Avoidance to a point. That said, you can't fully become immune to Status Effects through Status Avoidance, but it can help out a lot against Status-heavy foes. It also reduces the Damage you take from Poison ticks, which is useful.

Like Damage Reduction Subs, the best Status Avoidance Subs tend to be on the A Card. However, this typically means that you lose out on Damage Reduction as a result, allowing you to take more damage from enemies. As such, it's very difficult to stack effectively. Some cards do have it in smaller amounts though and others have passive Status Avoidance through their Awakening Skills.

Some Cards that have useful Status Avoidance:

  • Batista: Grants a HUGE 80% Status Avoidance as long as you stay above 80% HP. One of the best Status Avoidance Subs in the game. (Also becomes a nice 2-in-1 Status Avoidance + Damage Reduction Sub after Awakening)
  • Pharaoh: Grants a nice 20% Status Avoidance when Subbed on A. As mentioned before, this comes at the cost of taking more damage. (After Awakening, he also becomes a decent 2-in-1 Status Avoidance + Damage Reduction Sub)
  • Snow White: An example of a useful Awakening Skill; Snow White grants a huge 50% Status Avoidance whenever she's in the played hand!