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[Character Guide] Hoover J. Horsington's Personal Guide to Gwen


#1

This guide was written by Hooves

This is my guide to Gwen. It is not necessarily meant for beginners of Yomi but more suited for beginners of Gwen. It has opinions, it is quite large, and it has somewhat obnoxious, colored text.
You have been warned.

Who Is This Magical Girl?
And why is she running at me?

Gwen Grayson is your friendly neighborhood suicidal psychopath. Gwen is the premiere rush-down character in Yomi. No one matches her card flow and combo damage. Even Setsuki runs out of steam before Gwen does. Couple that with the fastest normal attacks in the game and the possibility of an un-jokerable 42 damage combo and you’ve got yourself the one and only Scourge of the Dreadlands. If you’re not playing Gwen then you must not like SICK DAYMAGE and STRAIGHT UP MURDERING PEOPLE.

“But Hooves, if Gwen has so much damage then how come I keep losing with her in quick match? : (”

Gwen is not a mindless rush-down character. That being said you’re probably losing with her because of how distractingly good looking she is, idk. But before we get into all of her intricacies and how I think she should be played, let’s take a look at the basics of Gwen.

Oh Look, Cards!
The reason Hand-Cap was invented.

Health:85
Max Combo: 6
Normal Attacks: x.0 speed, x damage.
Normal Throws: x.6 speed, 6 damage, 3 CP Starter, Knocks down.
Innate: Shadow Plague - During the draw phase, draw an extra card and take 2 damage.
Secondary Innate: - Frenzied Strikes: Whenever the opponent would normal block your non-Ender attack, you may discard a red and a black normal attack. If you do, the black one hits, you win combat (and it ends), the opponent’s block is discarded, and they draw a card.

Normals
2 (Attack/Block) - The fastest normal attack in the game, great for throwing out on KD, setting up straights, or for undercutting those characters with slower normals/face cards (Arg, Quince, BBB, Geiger)
3/4 (Attack/Block) - The majority of these should be pumping your K for damage.
5/6 (Attack/Dodge) - Great to throw in the middle of your combos or throws for extra damage. Also fairly necessary to keep around for later in the game to dodge with.
7/8 (Throw/Dodge) - Your main throws. Always throw with 7 if you can, try not to pump or power these up, but it’s okay in some situations.
9 (Throw/Block) - Pump/power fodder
10 (Throw/Block) - IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE THIS CARD. I see many people throwing away this card as if it’s useless but in Rook’s land of do-as-you-please we f**king block with our 10s and we are sad if we’re forced to power up or pump these away! One successful block with this card gives Gwen 3 extra turns to kill her opponent! Gwen rarely needs the extra card so if you can block with a 10, do it. (Pro-tip block with this at 12 cards to make your opponent literally cry [also honestly try to keep one of these in your hand at all times in case you want to block {also also try not to block with this while KD, it’s not that great}])

Specials

Chains of Ice is a fantastic combo starter that leads to Gwen’s MAX DAYMAGE combo at a whopping 42. Landing it forces your opponent to skip ALL the decisions they can make for the rest of their turn, allowing you to combo freely on them without fear of a Joker. It also skips decisions affecting powering up and character abilities such as Gloria’s healing, Lum’s Poker Flourish, and Rook’s Rock Armor. Did I mention that if you land it your opponent cannot face down a joker or bluff card? It’s a great dodge follow up and the Links of Ice side adds huge amounts of versatility to Gwen’s combos. Also in case you forgot OPPONENTS CANNOT JOKER YOUR COMBOS, YOU ARE BASICALLY GOD.

Gwen’s signature uppercut, good ole’ Popeye. Use this to stuff opponent’s fast attacks in match-ups that allow it (Geiger, Jaina, Arg, Troq, Zane, etc.), and consider using it as a decent throw Ender in match-ups that do not allow it (Grave, Menelker, Oni).

“But Hooves, how can Gwen slide so fiercely while wearing wedges? : /”

I dunno man but it’s awesome. This is Gwen’s most versatile and high combo damage card. It is also Joker bait for days. Pick your moments wisely when playing this as your combat card, or play it after a throw for decent damage and hand dump. Keep in mind that blowing a full combo into a joker is strictly worse than passing when you’ve won combat with a King.

Dashgorger is Gwen’s optimal combo/throw ender. It’s very helpful to have aces in your hand at pretty much all stages of the game. If you’ve got a 8-12 card hand you should consider powering up for at least 1 if you don’t have any (2 would be best). Don’t worry about Dreadlands Portal until very late into the game. The closer your opponent’s health gets to 22 the better this option becomes.

Gwen’s Combo Corner!
There are a lot.

Since Gwen is one of the most heavily combo oriented characters, let’s quickly run through Gwen’s optimal combos and most common followups. Obviously with the versatility of Links of Ice and Burnbarrow there can be a lot more combos than what I’m going to list here. I encourage you to follow your dreams and make any kind of combo your cold, metallic heart desires.

Note every 6 is replaceable with a J and every K++ is replaceable with two Js or a J and a 6

Attack
J+J>K++>AA = 42 UNJOKERABLE (opponent is 2 speed slower next turn)
K++>K++>AA = 40
K++>56>AA = 39
2>3>4>5>AA= 30 + 2 Aces very efficient
2>3>4>5>6 = 20 + 3 Aces (1 extra combo point)

Throw
Throw>6>AA =28
Throw>6>K++ =24
Throw>4>5>6 = 21 + Ace
Throw>Q+ = 16

Dodge
Dodge>AAA = 22 (can mock opponent afterwards)
Dodge>AA = 16
Dodge>J+J = 14 (opponent 2 speed slowed next turn)
Dodge>K++ = 12 (probably only good if lethal)
Dodge>J = 7 (play another J next turn for the Hooves Special)
Dodge>Throw = 6 (nets a KD, useful in some situations)

How to Wreck Face.
An exposition by Gwen Grayson.

“But Hooves, you’re still not teaching me how to win with Gwen! D’:”

Well hold your mes you haughty little spit f*ck. First we have to learn Gwen’s game plan and dispel some common misconceptions about what exactly makes her a good and unique character. For starters, Gwen is not as simple as you might think. Although her entire goal as a character is “win combat, kill things,” you can’t just ram attack after endless attack into your opponent and expect to win. Because Gwen has such heavily weighted options on winning combat with attack (almost always leading to big damage), it actually makes it harder for her to land attacks on her opponents.

If you think about how you would be playing against Gwen this idea becomes more apparent. Gwen is super fast and does like a million damage if she lands a K. Therefore, your main counter-play when facing Gwen is actually blocking. By blocking at Gwen you’re able to draw your best cards and power up for aces.

So with this idea in mind, what is a Gwen player to do when an opponent just won’t let her touch their tummy?

Gwen Is a Grappler.
Whoops. There go your brains. All over the ceiling.

Yes it’s true, Gwen has to throw. A lot. Even though she has Frenzied Strikes, a tool that’s decent at getting rid of opponent’s blocks, it’s more like damage control than a game plan. Most opponents don’t care about it unless they are low on health because it doesn’t hurt much, they draw a card, and Gwen usually loses out on some good damage from using it. Do not rely on it. Gwen doesn’t have the greatest damage off of her throws, but it’s necessary to get rid of her opponent’s blocks early on so they can’t just wait around for her to die with one billion damage sitting in her hand.

“But Hooves, Gwen only has x.6 throws what if my opponent has faster ones? : ( :*(”

Just throw. Seriously. You can get a straight off of a landed throw or just let your opponent get KD for a spiffy set up on the next turn. It’s really good and necessary for Gwen’s mix-ups.

“But Hooves, what if my opponent is uppercutting a lot? T_T”

You can’t attack unless you throw first. Seriously just trust me on this.

“But Hooves, what if-”

THROW. THEM.

…

Okay once you’ve thrown them you’ll have to stop throwing because you can’t kill anyone like that. You’re going to have to attack eventually, but when you do, how can you make sure you’re going to get MAX DAYMAGE?!

Ice Ice Baby!
No, I didn’t start a guide just to make that pun.

You may think Chains of Ice is just an extra card that Gwen doesn’t really need and only sometimes uses because of it’s slow speed, but you’d be wrong. It is an integral part of Gwen’s game plan and I promise the more you start using it the more you will win.

As the mid point of the game approaches, throwing will have served you well because your opponent will have to start attacking if they have any hopes of killing you. This is where Gwen can play her fast, high damaging attacks while also continuing her throw pressure to start taking huge chunks out of her opponent’s health bar. In most of her match-ups, Gwen can simply play a mix of K to out speed opponent’s combo attacks (like fast normals and face cards), and throw to catch opponent’s blocks/dodges (and possibly slower throws depending on what has already been played).

Even though this attack/throw mix-up can prove to be very effective, it’s important that Gwen also plays some amount of dodges and blocks at this point in the game for two reasons:

  1. Gwen dies very quickly, so taking dragon punches to the face doesn’t necessarily help out her whole health bar situation. Successfully dodging into Aces or even a single J is worth decent damage, and is one less DP to worry about. Blocking with a 10 is great, but even simply normal blocking can be useful since it nets Gwen approximately four hundred cards. (okay - three.)

  2. Forcing your opponent to consider throw in their ranges makes it all the more likely you’ll land Chains of Ice and murder half of their poor, unsuspecting life total. This is especially good against those characters that can out speed Gwen’s throws, like grapplers and . . . Valerie. Adding the occasional J into your regular attack/throw mix-up separates the mice from the masters, not to mention will lead you to the ever sought after HUGE DAMAGE.

“Oh! I see now, Gwen doesn’t actually just have slowish throws for no reason, they’re there to make throwing Gwen actually viable! : D”

Yes, generic white-texted student, you’re finally catching on! If Gwen had the fastest everything there would pretty much be no substance to her game. It would be 10 turns of 50/50 guessing throw/attack on either side until someone died. Also her opponent’s would save every Joker for when they guessed wrong and got hit with a K. However, because Gwen actually can be outsped, she can consistently counter-play her opponent by baiting them to press buttons. It also gives her the opportunity to play with one of the most powerful and damaging cards in the game. Pilebunker eat your heart out, Gwen will literally throw a freezer at your head.

Okay, so your game has gone according to plan. You’ve thrown your opponent for anywhere from 12-40 damage. Once they opened themselves up by attacking, you’ve landed a K or J combo on them for huge… ahem. And now you’re looking to finish them off and claim your victory. Well you may have forgotten one thing, you’re Gwen and you’re probably close to death yourself. Don’t feel bad, it’s very hard to avoid. 2 or 3 wrong guesses and you could be in the hole 50 health with the added damage from your innate.

Not to worry, Gwen never gives up until the up gives it… to, uh. Her. Yeah.

Uh Ohz, Portalz.
Koochie Koochie Koo.

At this point your opponent is weak and scared. They’ll do anything to fend you off for just a few more turns! Gwen’s infamously bad, “Dreadlands Tickle,” is very useful in this situation. Given that your opponent is at or below 22 health, playing a heavily weighted mix-up of naked AAA and dodge can be very effective, especially against non-grapplers. Also saving a J for a Chains of Ice set up is absolutely killer and can break through even the most reserved of fighters that try to save Jokers for this stage in the game. This is also a time when Frenzied Strikes is incredibly useful and will cause many tears. Catch an opponent trying to be greedy by blocking and your J can potentially punish them for 11 damage.

“But Hooves, won’t that stuff be super dangerous if I’m low on health too? :O”

Yes, you will probably be at something stupid like 7 life when running these mix-ups, but that hardly matters if you win. Basically everything kills your opponent at this stage so how you play it out is up to you. Gwen has a blatant disregard for her own safety and I encourage you to play as such in a situation like this. After all, what’s the worst that could happen…?

“But Hooves. . . : (”

Oh. It was Troq and he just threw you and combo’d into TWENTY?! Oh well, you can’t win them all. You are arguably the most fragile character in the game which means even if you throw early game, run a successful K/J/throw mix-up in the mid game, and threaten lethal with dodge into AAA in the late game, you still might die. Some characters can effectively two-shot you if the game goes late enough. Do not despair my students. Gwen may fall in battle but she’ll just grab some morphine from her sister and rush right back into the fight.

If you are worried about losing to those characters that can two-shot Gwen, you might want to take a look a this match-up rundown to get an idea about some of her character specific strategies.

The Match Up Rundown
Where numbers speak louder than exclamation points.

+,- = give or take on the MU ratio relative to Gwen

Arg - 4.5/5.5: This match up is quite difficult because Gwen takes 4 damage a turn. Since Gwen has to throw quite a bit, KD may seem tempting but usually getting as much damage as possible is optimal in my experience. The only time I suggest going for KD is after a dodge. Yes, you still have to dodge and 10 block in case you don’t have options to out speed Arg’s Q or AA, which means Arg will throw most likely throw at some point. Try to be ready with Chains of Ice when that happens. This match will usually go down to the wire, so be prepared to get checkmated sometimes.

BBB - 5.5/4.5+: Range can be annoying for Gwen but you have plenty of dodges. Saving Q specifically for Range is quite useful. Apart from having to watch out for BBB’s 7* (Robo Headbutt) and his A/AA spam, Gwen can play her regular attack/throw mix-up. 10 block is a great option at Range if you’ve identified that BBB doesn’t have a K, or isn’t likely to play it.

DeGrey - 4/6: Apart from the abhorrent disadvantage both character’s innate’s give Gwen, DeGrey has a pretty good answer to Gwen’s early throw game which is 7* (Point, Counterpoint). Although J cleanly beats it, adjusting too far into an attack range is likely to get A dodged. Either way Gwen is sad. Try to dump your hand as much as possible. Give it all ya got, with what DAYMAGE ya got left!

Geiger - 5/5 +,-: Geiger will really want to fend off Gwen’s throws early on and build a good hand in the mid game, leading into a temporal distortion combo or Ace pressure in the late game. 10 block is pretty useful for Gwen as it counteracts Geiger’s innate. Try not to get too predictable with your attacks/throws, and don’t get too antsy. If you build up a good hand before Gegier does (which you almost always will), your options always out speed his, it’s just a matter of connecting with them.

Gloria - 5.5/4.5 +: Gwen out speeds her sister by A LOT. The only real answer Gloria has is a recurring Q of hearts and the persistent damage from her Aces. Q, dodge, and 10 block are all good answers to Gloria’s Q. Dodging into Chains is a good way to stop Gloria from playing Aces and interrupts her innate which allows you to dissolve her 10* (Healing Sphere). Try to stop Gloria’s 10* as fast as you can, you do not want her to Overdose you all day. Press your advantage if she heals too much and goes low on cards.

Grave - 5/5 +,-: Throw, throw and then throw one more time just for good measure. Gwen’s K pressure can be frustrating for Grave but his blocks are bad news as it brings him ever closer to a very effective TPoS mix-up. Try to block with 10 every time, because you either heal or Grave has to ditch one of his options for fending off Gwen’s throws. You should use J slightly less for Chains of Ice and slightly more for damage conversion on throws.

Jaina - 5/5 +,-: This is a match up where throwing is not as important because of how few blocks Jaina actually has. Since she can cover her bases by attacking and buying them back, Gwen will be less tempted to throw and more tempted to use Frenzied Strikes. Be clever with your ranges though, no need to only throw once every 9 attacks. Also, when Jaina uses her 7* (Unstable Power), 98% of the time Gwen plays J or 10 block. The 2 % is if one of you have a huge life lead, or if you are playing Juushichi. Then just guess and hope he takes pity on your black soul.

Lum - 4.5/5.5 -: Uh oh. Poker. Remember to throw in this match-up as Lum is very content with blocking. Gwen’s regular attack/throw mix-up is about as good as you can get here however Lum has the ability to consistently out speed it, forcing Gwen to guess a lot. If you manage to land Chains of Ice, Lum won’t be able to use Poker Flourish or power up for aces. It takes some finesse but it’s necessary to play a solid mix of offense and defense in this match-up, landing as many 10 blocks as you can.

Menelker 4.5/5.5 +,-: This is an interesting match-up where I think in more beginner levels of play Gwen has an advantage simply because her K out speeds his. However if Gwen is playing against a competent Menelker his options with dodge/Q are very difficult for Gwen to deal with. Pretty much the only thing Gwen has going for her is Menelker’s 70 health. Try not to let him block too much, but block a decent amount yourself. Landing a 10 block on a black Queen is nigh devastating for Menelker.

Midori 5/5 +,-: I think this match-up can go either way. Once one character gets a decent life lead it’s difficult for the other to come back from the deficit, mostly Gwen because of her innate. Don’t be afraid to 10 block if you feel like a Dragon Queen is coming, though your Q is also a good answer as it wards away throws. Playing J a lot early can be very useful, but save FS for batting away any time he blocks with a 2 or an 8.

Oni 5.5/4.5 +,-: Early game, Oni really wants to land his aces to diffuse Gwen’s throws and make Final authority threatening in the mid/late game, so be wary of that. This is a match where Chains of Ice can really shine. Not only does Oni out speed Gwen’s throws, but he HAS to throw or else Gwen can just block/dodge his Final Authority set-ups. Saving your Js for late game and playing a dodge/Chains of Ice mix-up can be really effective. Remember, Gwen can kill Oni off landing Chains once he gets to or below 42 HP!

Persephone 5.5/4.5 +: Persephone tying on Gwen’s throws is pretty huge because of how reliant she is on KD. Gwen has a huge advantage when Persephone doesn’t have Q/A in her hand, forcing Persephone to either throw or dodge (and to a lesser extent attack). Since Persephone relies on cycling her best options from her discard, she plays with her heart on her sleeve for most of the game. Recognizing when Gwen can capitalize on a sub-optimal Persephone hand (no threat of Mind Control, desperate to land a KD) will help out a lot.

Quince 5.5/4.5 +: Gwen outclasses ALL of Quince’s combat options. He is forced to win one combat and keep that advantage for basically the entire game. Getting hit or blocking Patriot Mirror can be annoying, but generally Gwen’s answers are 10 block (unless knocked down) and Q uppercut. If Quince tries to do anything fancy you could attempt to punish it with a J or a 7 throw but these are more risk/reward options. As for Positive Spin reveals, 10 block beats his J, 8 or 7 throw beats his K, and J beats his Q. The only question is whether or not Quince will actually play the cards he reveals or attempt for a counter-play. If you can see through the smoke and mirrors, Gwen has a pretty huge advantage.

Rook 5.5/4.5 +,-: I used to think this was Rook advantage similar to Troq but Gwen pretty much dominates the early game when playing heavy K/J/throw mix-up. Gwen has to worry about AA/AAAA but for the most part Rock Armor is not a big deal even if it hits. Plus, landing Chains of Ice causes Rook to skip over his chance to play Rock Armor. If you don’t have a J, playing A attack as a combat card is good option.

Setsuki 5/5 -: Setsuki can be tough to deal with because her throws outclass yours (on potential combo damage and speed). Just remember that because your K out speeds everything except her Q and aces, Setsuki should be dodging a lot, even if she doesn’t have much to dodge into. playing throws and Chains of Ice can be risky but this entire match-up is risky. Just try to keep in mind what options you know she has and what options you know she doesn’t have (from bag of tricks looping and combat reveals that don’t lead into her hand dump). Just don’t let her dodge forever, because trust me, she can.

Troq 4.5/5.5 -: At first glance this match-up might seem easy for Gwen, but Troq is equipped with just the right tools to deal with a lot of her options. His Q/AA can throw a wrench in your plans at any time. His K and J will keep you honest and force you to use Gwen’s Ks and Qs often. Fortunately for you, Frenzied Strikes keeps Troq from growing which means almost all of your normals should be used for after he blocks an attack. Throwing early is not usually the best idea for you, but playing too many attacks can ruin your end game damage potential. If you have to play a K and pump it for 12 damage into nothing else, so be it. Just try to always attack with a red/black normal in hand and try not to let him grow.

Valerie 4/6 +,-: Effing Valerie.With BOS on her side, Valerie can quite constantly out speed Gwen. Chromatic Orb threat is very hard to deal with as Gwen falls into the 1.0 speed hole. Be very careful when choosing to attack as Val’s 2 attack with BOS on backup usually nets her about SEVEN ACES. Try to bait out Val’s throws by playing slightly defensive and then land Chain of Ice. It’s one of your only saving graces besides your 0.0 speed Q.

Vendetta 5.5/4.5 +,-: Gwen’s K gets great mileage in this match-up, although is likely to get acro’d. Vendetta out speeds Gwen’s throws giving her a good reason to play around with J, however if you catch Ven without a 2 in his hand feel free to scoop him up. Gwen’s Q thwarts Ven’s K threats quite cleanly, but a cleverly placed J or K while knocked down can be very bad news for the Vend. Remember, Ven only has 75 health. If you can identify when he doesn’t have Acrobatics in his hand he is a harmless, undead puppy.

Zane 4.5/5.5 +,-: Zane’s Crash Bombs can be quite annoying (pro-tip, 10 block all of them). Getting KD doesn’t hurt too much until you run out of Queens. Zane has more fast throws than Gwen so putting more weight on J than usual can payoff. Trading Chains of Ice with Crash Bomb is pretty favorable because it slows his normal attacks down to 3.0 speed the next turn. This gives you a lot of room to play around, however, one wrong guess puts you right back in the vortex and usually leads to good damage for Zane. Don’t fret too much if you don’t have an easy way out of his meaties set ups, just collect your self and try to block correctly.

This guide was written by Hooves


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