Lum is a very attractive character for a lot of new players at Yomi. It’s also been said this is a bit of a shame though, because he’s one of the most complex characters in the game to play with, and so not exactly ideal for a new player.
Yomi is a competitive game that supremely tests your valuation and reading (yomi) skills. As it’s a turn-based card game, there’s no real ‘execution’ to speak of (apart from rare cases in the online videogame version where you’re running out of time to click things), so it’s entirely based on your mental and knowledge skills. So, if you want to get good at Yomi, there’s no real shortcut for reading the rules, understanding the game, even ‘studying’ it to learn, and then playing it a lot to get experience of applying your knowledge skills. However to help out one of my friends who recently started playing Yomi with Lum, I thought I’d put together some basic advice to help simplify the game early on, when playing with this potentially very complicated character. He liked my advice so we thought it would be useful to write it up here.
Please note, I’m also a complete newbie at Lum; I’ve only played as him a handful of times, and have a number of matches against him (mainly as Grave). However I’m sharing my advice based on my knowledge of playing Yomi, my knowledge of Lum’s cards, reading other people’s guides to him, and also how I found Yomi learning it myself as a new player. For what it’s worth I’m currently ranked as an above-average Grave player on the Yomi Quickmatch Leaderboard, so I consider myself to be at least pretty solid on the basics now.
There are many other fantastic guides for Yomi at Fantasy Strike’s website with this great forum thread in particular an amazing resource that all players should check out at some point. One of my favourite introductions is “Making Yomi Click” by coffee.
However, I couldn’t find anything quite like this previously written, so, onto my tips for simplifying the game for a new Lum… I recommend you also click here to see all of Lum’s cards while reading this. Lum’s never going to be an easy character to start out with, but if you’ve learnt the basics of the game already, this might help ease the learning curve a little:
1. Forget about trying to “yomi” at first, and focus on basic valuation only. This might sound weird, given the name of the game, and it might make you seem more ‘predictable’ and you could lose combats a little bit more at times too, but I think it’s the best way to learn. This means you will pretty much ignore your opponent and just manage your own hand, and only play the best options you have. Once you get the hang of that and start to learn the matchups, then you can try and put more ‘yomi’ into your game. An excellent way to practice this (& a good way to practice stuff in general) is to play vs the ‘Yomibot’ CPU online. It plays completely randomly, so it’s virtually impossible to predict what it is more likely to do at any time. Yet once you get the hang of it you will beat it 99% of the time just by being careful, blocking a lot, and only trying to damage it when you have good options to do so. Even if it seems to ‘out-guess you’ constantly for a stretch, you can and will always come back and win if you play well.
2. Personally I’d also forget about Poker Flourish for now if I was learning Lum, because I have no understanding of Poker or any other ‘normal’ card games (this was a struggle for me in general when I started to play Yomi), so this makes Poker Flourish far too complex for me whilst trying to figure out everything else about Yomi at the same time. Obviously if you want to play Lum properly, you’ll need to figure out Poker Flourish as it’s a huge part of what makes Lum good – playing without it is a bit like playing Street Fighter’s Ryu without using a fireball, but, just like with Ryu, it’s still worth it to learn I think.
For reference, here is what the Poker hands mean though (from the Yomi rules):
A straight mean 5 cards in a row. A flush means 5 cards of the same suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades are the four suits). A full house means a pair and three-of-a-kind (such as two 6s and three Jacks). Four-of-a-kind is pretty self-explanatory (for example: four Kings). A straight flush is a straight (5 cards in a row) that are also all the same suit.
3. For managing what you decide to do and what your best options are, firstly look at the game state and try to determine if it’s early, mid or late game:
- It’s early game if: Both players have high life totals, probably fairly random hands (first random 7 cards plus drawn a few).
- It’s mid game game if: A number of turns have gone by. Both players have taken a few hits, both players have drawn quite a few more cards & maybe powered up once or twice so probably have some Aces &/or more damaging combo potential.
- It’s late game if: One or both players are close to KO. They may have amazing hands built (big hands or at least hands with high combo potential, Aces &/or high damage moves), or one or both players may have quite small hands if they’ve “blown their hand” (probably via lots of combos or lots of attacks, powerups or dodges) trying to get an early lead, and they now have quite a small hand.
From there, determine what’s best to do with Lum:
- Early-game Lum should: Almost always Block, sometimes random throw. You should only attack if you have an amazing option with low downside (see below for the best attacks you have).
- Mid-game Lum should: Mainly Block, sometimes Dodge but only if you have good dodge option, sometimes Attack but only if you have a good attack option, sometimes random Throw.
- Late game Lum should: Now Lum wants to start powering up for Aces, Dodge, & Attack and you should have good options (and Poker Flourish if you have got the hang of it!). Very rarely Throw, usually it’s only worth the gamble if you can KO your opponent with a Throw + the Pump damage, or if you see your opponent has a small hand and they are desperately trying to block to get some cards again. Because Lum is such an odd character, you can even Block quite a lot late-game, especially if you know what you’re doing with Poker Flourish to deal damage.
4. Your good Attack options are:
Jack (J) if you can do a good combo after it, Queen (Q), Ace (A) and King (K) when you have more than one King.
J is a fast move and is a “Linker” and so excellent for starting or continuing combos. It’s also good to use earlier, such as in the mid-game, to save your even ‘better’ Q and A for later. It’s also got fairly low downside if you use it and you lose the combat, you’ll only lose your J card, but not the rest of the cards you were thinking of comboing into.
Some good combos you can do starting with J are:
- J followed by a normal ‘chain’ combo. This means any string of 2 or 3 normal cards going up sequencially. For example, the most damaging one you can do is J-6-7-8. This does a total of 25 damage, at 1.4 speed (the Jack) and costs you four cards, but does mean you’ll get to put an extra Ace card into your hand after it, due to the 3-hit normal chain combo. If you’re going to attack with a J into normal chain, make sure you have at least 10 more damage worth of normal cards, and you’ll usually want to wait until you can do a full 3 chain string after the Jack to get an Ace too. Note that you will be able to draw the extra Ace even if your opponent Joker escapes your combo.
- J followed by two or more Kings is another way to do great damage at a faster speed than the Kings would be if used as the actual Attack card. The Jack is 1.4 speed, whereas your Kings are only 3.0 speed. Always pump as many Kings as you can onto the first hit of the King as Kings added to another King do even more damage – the first hit does 6, but each extra King ‘pump’ does 8 more damage.
Onto your Queen. Q doesn’t have the same damaging combo potential that the Jack has, but it’s your fastest attack (0.4), and does decent damage (8), and if you have two Queens you can ‘pump’ them together for 16 damage for 2 cards – fantastic.
Ace – Great Pandamonium side: As well as having a cool name (& a great nickname of “Pandalol”!), this a fast (0.8) and damaging attack (10), that gets more and more dangerous the more Aces you get – each further ‘pump’ of an Ace hit is worth 12 more damage. For this reason, it’s often worth saving Aces until you can get quite a few of them. This is also because the other side of the Ace (the Dodge – Blackjack) is also your best dodge option (as discussed next).
Kings. These aren’t really worth using on their own, but if you have a few of them, they become very dangerous. If you have a J you can either try to combo them after that, as described earlier, or just do a K as an attack card itself. This is slower and so more risky, but can definitely still be worth it if you don’t have any Js. Even early game, if you have a lot of Ks it might be worth using them, as the downside is pretty low, since you only lose one King at a time if they lose in combat, & if they are blocked, you might get them back with “Roll the Dice” anyway – more on this later.
In general you should really try to avoid attacking with your normal cards, like a 5 or a 3 attack. Usually the only time it is worth the risk, is when you have a really powerful straight like 5-6-7-8 and you’ve gotten a random knock-down off Roll the Dice, and so you might get to do a “mix-up normal” hit. Also early game on, when Throws and Blocks are more likely, if your hand has a straight like 3-4-5-6, it might be worth attacking with the 3 just to see if you can ‘get lucky’ and land the combo, but it’s not something you should be trying to do a lot.
5. Your good Dodge options are:
Only ever Dodge when you can do an Ace Dodge – Blackjack, or you can do a normal Dodge and hit them with at least 2 Aces – Great Pandamonium or 2 or more Kings after dodging. Dodging into 2 Qs might also be good sometimes vs characters with very fast attacks (see Matchups, later). You’ll notice that Ace is generally your best dodge, and one of your best attacks too, and one of your best attacks after a normal dodge! This is another reason why blocking a lot to get lots of cards is so important for Lum as his Aces are amazing and the more of them you get, the better. They are arguably the best Ace in the game, and ideally you should be trying to get all four Aces in your hand with Lum. You can get them just by chance from drawing lots of cards from more turns and more Blocks, and also by getting lots of doubles and triples of other cards and powering up for Aces.
If you don’t manage to get an Ace at all in any game with Lum, I think you’re probably doing something very wrong (& are very unlucky!). If you’re in the midgame and don’t have an Ace yet, I think it is often worth powering up a normal double to get one – and of course when you powerup, your opponent will know you have an Ace too, so you can threaten them more that you will use it, even if you don’t for a while.
6. When throwing, much of the time any Throw will do. You’re not usually going to do much damage via throws, you mainly use them to threaten the opponent so they realise they can’t Block all the time. Your 6 throw is the fastest and best throw most of the time, as it will beat most other characters throws for speed too, even though it will do a bit less damage. You’ll hardly ever want to pump a throw with more cards for extra damage though. Only do this when the extra damage would KO your opponent, or put them very close to KO with another move afterwards. Your next fastest throw after the 6 is the 8. Normally you’d always save your 10 cards for Poker Flourish.
7. Jokers – You should always try to use them for their Rewind Time time ability. This is sometimes referred to as a “Combo escape’ or a ‘Blue Burst’ too. This means that you essentially save them for when you screw up. Use them when your opponent dodges an attack if you think they might have a big damage single hit (eg: you think they have lots of Aces), or they hit you with a good ‘combo starter’ for their character (eg: a low normal like a 2 or a 3 usually starts good combos for most characters, so can Throws for some characters). You can also use them in situations where you get hit by the first hit of a “pumpable” move – like if you got hit by another Lum’s Ace attack and you expect they have a lot more Aces to pump it’s damage with. These are also the same situations when you should bluff that you have a Joker, even if you don’t have them. Only use them as a “Gold Burst” when you are absolutely desperate to do a fast Attack and don’t have a better option like a Q or a Dodge.
8. Roll the Dice – you’re playing as Lum so you’re going to have to gamble! I would pretty much always do this, and hope for the best… The main reason not to use this ability is when you are setting up a Poker Flourish, as it will probably mess up your discard pile. Roll the Dice is another reason why attacking with your face cards (J, Q, K, A) is such a good idea with Lum, and you should almost always chose to bring the cards back to your hand rather than knock down your opponent. The only time a knock down is better in general, would be in the late game when you don’t need the extra cards as much, or when you are trying to setup a great mix-up normal attack into a chain combo you already have in hand. Remember when your opponent is knocked down, they can’t dodge and they are less likely to block as it becomes more risky for them – and most of the time with Lum you would prefer to Block yourself, so you are quite happy when your opponent also Blocks or Dodges – so getting a Knock Down that makes them less likely to do so is less attractive than you’d think.
9. Matchups – This is starting to get a bit more advanced now – there’s always so much more to learn about Yomi! But the first thing to focus on in a matchup that might change your basic gameplan as outlined above, is how likely your opponent’s character is to do a lot of throws. Rook and Midori are the main two characters with lots of throws, but also Setsuki and DeGrey tend to throw more than usual for various reasons. If you’re matched against one of these characters, then you’ll want to start to adjust your “best options” above a bit, in general, replacing Blocks and Dodges with doing a few more Attacks. However you’ll still need to be careful and try to Block whenever you think it’s safer to do so.
The second thing to focus on in a matchup is the speed of your opponents fastest moves, and how that changes the value of your fastest moves. For example, if you are playing against Grave, his fastest attacks in order are Q (0.0 speed), AAA (0.4) and A (1.0). So if you don’t think Grave has any Qs or a triple Ace in hand, then your Qs (0.4 speed) are great as they will out-speed everything else he can do. However if you suspect, or know, a Grave player has Qs in hand and is likely to use them (mid to late game especially) then your Qs become a lot less effective. For this reason, vs Grave Qs might be better off used earlier in a match than normal, or saved for damage off a normal Dodge into a Q+Q attack. Conversely, against some opponents your Q will outspeed almost all of their moves they are likely to use late in the game.
And that’s it for my tips! To learn more I recommend you read those links earlier on, and also read these two great much more advanced Lum guides that are already out there: this one by garcia1000 has a great guide on how to use Poker Flourish well, and this guide by Blinky has some detailed matchup advice.