Ch’en the Holungday is the future Limited 6★ Spreadshooter Sniper featured in the Summer Stars banner, which will run alongside the Dossoles Holiday event. Alternate Ch’en is the second Limited Alternate Operator in the game, following the steps of Skadi the Corrupting Heart, and develops upon a similarly underrepresented archetype in the game. This time she needs to hold a candle to Pinecone if she wishes to be as widely sought-after as the previous Limited unit. Can she accomplish this? Will she knock Pinecone out of this archetype’s throne? Let’s find out!
Yes. The answer is yes.
The review could very easily end here with the strongest recommendation to pull on her banner I’ve given to date. Alter Ch’en is one of the most (if not simply the most) powerful DPS Operators in the entire game, becoming the prime choice over Operators like SilverAsh very often.
But how? The Spreadshooter Sniper has been a very niche archetype ever since its inception, only becoming a serious option to consider with the release of Pinecone. Surely, Ch’en the Holungday’s DPS must be extremely conditional like Pallas’s, or full of tiny caveats that make optimizing it a nightmare like Rosmontis’s, correct?
The answer is no, not really. If you are at all familiar with the controversy surrounding this unit’s release (which I will neither support nor condone in this article), you may already be aware of the insane amount of power this Limited unit packs. She not only has better DPS than many long-standing units such as the aforementioned SilverAsh, but also a massively stacked kit that makes her even easier to use and gives her incredibly powerful options that other DPS units simply don’t have, as we’ll see later.
For now, however, let’s take a look at her stats.
As you probably already expected, Ch’en the Holungday very easily beats every other Sniper in her archetype on every single department but DP Cost. In regards to her Attack, specifically, she beats Executor, the next best one, by over 60 points at equal level.
While this may not look impressive in comparison to other Snipers of her rarity (she still places in the bottom half in this regard, surprisingly) and the DP cost might look very intimidating (she’s the most expensive Sniper and one of the most expensive Operators altogether), her kit is so incredibly stacked that, even in a single-enemy situation where her AoE-oriented kit should be a drawback, she can fare better than many other Operators.
At E2, this Talent makes it so Alter Ch’en has a 20% (+2% at P6) chance not to consume any ammo on attack, which results in a sizeable increase in potential DPS, averaging to around 18.25% on her best Skill, or 21.8% at P6. This is an amazing Talent as all of her Skills rely on the ammo mechanic to function, and while not incredibly fancy (and often not really necessary, as we’ll see later) it can be taken as a very welcome increase in her DPS and versatility.
As if that wasn’t enough, however, this also gives all other Sniper Operators a 10% chance not to consume any ammo when using ammo-based Skills, which includes Ash’s and Toddifons’s second Skills: Assault Tactics and Portable Fortcracker Arrows.
This second part of the Talent is not that great. Ash is reliant on a Stun that doesn’t last the entire duration of her Skill for maximum damage, which requires the aid of a consistent Stunner (such as Texas’s Sword Rain or Projekt Red’s Wolfpack) in order to squeeze all the possible DPS out of this Skill, so Alter Ch’en’s Talent is not so useful on her. Toddifons does benefit from this Talent a little bit more, but she’s not a meta enough Operator to actually get any significant performance or usage boost out of this. While this part of the Talent looks quite good on paper, it’s not really that impactful on practice. But who knows! A new ammo-based Sniper might be just around the corner!
And just as a reminder of how ammo-based Skills work, since they are all Alter Ch’en uses: once activated, these kinds of Skills have an infinite duration until all the ammo is consumed or the Skill is manually deactivated, resulting in never wasting a single second of uptime, which is incredibly powerful for DPS Operators.
Vestiges of Vacation
At E2, Alter Ch’en obtains an ASPD boost of 8 at all times, which is upgraded to 12 if there are any water tiles in the map (Ceylon? Is that you?)
As with her first Talent, this is also a flat but welcome DPS boost, if significantly more boring. The second part only activates in her own event, Dossoles Holiday, and the aforementioned Ceylon’s Obsidian Festival (plus any events based on these two, like new Contingency Contract seasons or future Annihilation maps), so don’t expect to be making good use of it very often.
As a result of this Talent, Ch’en the Holungday’s long Attack interval of 2.3 seconds gets reduced to a slightly noticeable 2.13 seconds, or 2.07 if the water condition is met.
Skill 1: High Pressure Splash
Alter Ch’en’s first Skill is incredibly simple, giving her 4 ammo upon activation and, at M3, doubling her Attack. Additionally, her archetypal Trait (which boosts her damage to 150% to enemies in the frontal three tiles of her range) gets expanded to her entire range. This skill greatly increases her average DPS, and would be the go-to skill for lazy gameplay if another one of her Skills wasn’t… ahem. Let’s leave that for later.
Like all of the regular Ch’en’s Skills, this one has an Offensive SP charging mechanism, giving 4 ammo every 5 off-Skill attacks, for an easy-to-calculate uptime of 44% if the flow of enemies is constant.
Skill 2: "Night of Violet"
At M3, this Skill increases Alter Ch’en’s Attack by 80%, gives her 8 ammo, and makes all of her attacks generate a pool of liquid within range that affects all enemies on the ground for 5 seconds (more than double her Attack Interval), slowing their Movement Speed by 35% and reducing their Defense by a flat 170. Additionally, it can be Charged (much like Carnelian) to obtain 12 more ammo, for a total of 20.
At 20 SP, or 40 to Charge, this Skill is ready relatively quickly and allows for a pretty strong burst of damage, but it really wants to be optimized by triggering Alter Ch’en’s Trait as much as possible in order to maximize the damage output, which is strangely something you only need to do with this Skill.
This is a fine Skill—impressive, even. It has really good average DPS, and when charged a single cast can deal as much damage as a Truesilver Slash would if her Trait triggers consistently, which makes it pretty good for covering main DPS options if need be. Despite her damage tanking quite a bit if the Trait conditions are not met, it remains a very powerful option made even more powerful by the way the ammo effect allows players to adeptly control downtimes to line up with more powerful enemies.
There is, however, one reason why no one ever uses either of these two very powerful Skills.
Skill 3: "Holiday Storm"
What if we gave “Night of Violet” the Attack multiplier and Trait extension of the first skill? What if we made her range even larger? And if we made both the Movement Speed and the Defense Shred debuffs stronger? What if we gave her 32 ammo and made her charging time lower than SilverAsh’s third Skill? What if, on top of it all, we made every single attack hit TWICE?
You might hear that Ch’en the Holungday’s third Skill is one of the best Skills in the game for DPS, and this is no exaggeration. It provides damage so high that a single cast of this 55 SP skill can deal more damage than a Truesilver Slash or even than Eyjafjalla’s incredible Volcano up to insane Defenses of over 1500; it covers such a large area that it puts AoE Casters to shame, and to top it off, it’s an ammo-type skill.
Ammo skills are usually balanced by the nature of their effects, with heavy weaknesses such as Ash’s Stun requirement or Toddifons’s general kit, but they are an incredibly powerful mechanic that lets players have full control of Operators’ down- and uptimes. Never wasting a single shot when there’s no enemy worth the attack, nor wasting a single second if the enemies stop coming halfway through its duration, and charging up as soon as the player feels the need to recharge all 32 ammo. Ch’en the Holungday suffers none of the liabilities that often come with this mechanic, but reaps all the benefits. Starting at 30 Initial SP, it can even be helidropped pretty easily.
So, should I pull for Ch’en the Holungday? Is she truly the new paradigm in terms of DPS? Is she really as broken as people tend to say she is? The answer is, unsurprisingly, DEFINITELY YES. Alter Ch’en’s third Skill packages insane DPS with the incredibly powerful ammo system, allowing players to perfectly control her downtimes, line up incredibly high burst attacks for tougher enemies, or simply mow down everything under a thousand Defense in a couple of true-AoE shots. If you care at all about this game’s meta, there’s no reason not to pull Ch’en the Holungday.