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Advanced Combat Guide (3rd Anniversary Update)

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Introduction + Credits

In the recent era of Touhou LostWord, many things can be very confusing to the average player. This is why during the 1.5th Anniversary of this game, the original Advanced Combat Guide was created. Unfortunately, as most gacha games continue to evolve, previous data tends to become outdated or not useful. Fret not! For this updated 3rd Anniversary Advanced Combat Guide will be an all encompassing guide, filled with old and new information. Note that this guide will not have all information, the information it lacks will either be easy to find in-game or explainable inside of the official discord server.

Credits to: Minzhire, Kairyu, and Meeko for the original Advanced Combat guide.

Credits to: Alex393 and Kogasa for assistance during the creation of this guide.

Bullets and Bullet Lines

All Basic Shots, Spell Cards, and Last Words in LostWord consist of six bullets, or “Bullet Lines”. Each individual bullet line is made up of several factors that include the base power of an attack, the base amount of “bullets” in a bullet line as well as additional bullet line effects. These effects will be covered later in this guide. Without using Spirit Power, only the first line is accessible but as for Boosting, the amount of bullet lines gained per Spirit Power boost depending on the attack and are shown through the yellow-red colored arrows that are seen when pressing on an attack to view the additional information.

This community refers to how many bullet lines an attack gets via boosting using a numbering system of x-x-x. Each x represents the first, second, and third boost. In the example screenshot of L1 Marisa Kirisame, her bullet lines are 2-1-2. This means she gains 2 bullet lines for a single boost, 1 additional bullet line for 2 boosts, and 2 more bullet lines for 3 boosts. In total this means all attacks have 6 bullet lines which can be accessed through boosting. More on Boosting and Spirit Power mechanics later.

It is important to define the difference between bullet lines and bullets. As these are rather different. A bullet line is a group of 1-20 or more bullets. A bullet refers to a singular attack or tic of damage. Back to the Marisa example. In the first bullet line of Marisa’s attack, there are 8 bullets. Each bullet in any attack, can give 1 of the following:

  • A part of that bullet line’s damage.
  • A singular break.*
  • Whatever effect said bullet line may have.*
  • A singular break of whatever anomaly break said bullet line has.**
  • Spirit power recovery proportional to how many bullets land.

*This means that if 1 of a bullet line’s bullet connects, the bullet will induce that effect. If more bullets from the bullet line connect, there will be no additional effects. This does not apply to the secondary effect called absorb. As that increases hp based on targets hit. Should a 20% absorb line hit 3 enemies, one will recover 60% HP!

**This is extremely specific and requires a notation: In short, this means that if an enemy has an anomaly inflicted on them and then a bullet from a bullet line connects that has an anomaly break, the anomaly break of that bullet line will be “consumed” for the rest of the bullet line, even if there is an anomaly being inflicted immediately after on that specific line. Should both an anomaly infliction and an anomaly break be on the same line without any anomalies being inflicted prior, the enemy will lose 1 Barrier. If there were anomalies inflicted, those anomalies will be broken and the enemy will be left with 1 barrier status. What anomaly that is will depend on the specific line.

Bullet Tags

Every bullet can have one of several ‘tags’ attached to it, which you can check by tapping on the bullet in-game, or checking here on GamePress. There are a lot of “tags” or additional effects that have been introduced over time. The exact meaning and effects of these tags can be viewed as well.

A bullet type is simply what type of damage you’re dealing. There are many types and these can be viewed in game by looking at the side of a bullet line as can be seen with L1 Youmu above, or by pressing the bullet line and looking toward the middle left.

Here is a table of every bullet type:

Ofuda - This bullet type looks like paper with a small symbol in the middle.

Slash - As can be seen with Youmu above, this looks like an X.

Energy - This looks like a fireball heading to the left.

Laser - This…looks like a laser. Originating from the right and heading left.

Liquid - This looks like a splash of water.

Heavy - Looks like a cube.

Sharp - Appears as 3 needles aimed to the left.

Light - Looks like the sun and it’s rays.

Missile - Appears very much like a literal missile facing to the left.

Body - These appear as an orange fist.

Normal - These appear as your typical real life bullet. Scary.

A bullet line is always one singular bullet type. But since an entire attack has 6 bullet lines, an attack can be made up of 6 different bullet types or (most commonly) 6 of the same bullet type. These bullet types are very very important. Please be hyper aware of them.

Easily the most important tag is known as killer. Killer, also known as Anti, is translated in game as any attack line with “X-Killer”. This simply means that attack will always result in a Critical Hit if the opponent has that designation. So for example, a “Human-Killer” attack line would always land a Critical Hit against, say, Reimu Hakurei.

Enemies can change their race over the course of a battle, however. While an enemy may have loads of different killer tags like for example, S5 Utsuho Reiuji. During a battle the enemies might change their killer tag to become (most often) 1 tag. While S5 Okuu might have tags like Beast, God, Underworld, and so on during one gauge or HP bar, the next Gauge might end up being only Swimsuit. This means only characters who have the “Swimsuit-Killer” will always crit against S5 Okuu. You will often see this inside of Divergent Spirits. Which will be covered in a different section.

Damage Calculation

Damage is calculated as follows (with thanks to spmlk on Discord! ~ Changed to reflect modern understanding):

Hit Damage for a singular bullet line = ((Unit Attack x Buffs x Rank ii Buffs x Anomaly Specific Debuffs) + (Scaling Amount in Decimal x Buffs x Rank ii Buffs)) x (Critical hit multiplier + Buffs x Rank ii Buffs) x Awaken Multiplier/Shot Power Multiplier x Elemental Multiplier x Ability Multiplier x Unit Level x Base Power x Number of Bullets In The Bullet Line x Specific Card Details / (Enemy Defense x Buffs x Rank ii Buffs x Anomaly Specific Debuffs) x Ability x Specific Guard Details x Targeting Resistance

Attack related and almost directly controllable.

Relating to critical hits, killers, and other things outside direct control.

Additional multipliers that are controllable. 

The actual bullet itself. 

The story card currently being used. 

Total Attack is based on the unit’s attacking stat. 

Buffs will be covered in the following sections. 

Scaling Amount is the Base Scaling of an attack. An attack may have 120% Hard scaling. Meaning 120% of that unit’s Defense is added to Attack. The type of Defense depends on whether the line is Yin or Yang (Yin Defense or Yang Defense).

Critical Hit Modifier is a multiplier to a hit that applies if it is determined to be a Critical Hit. This may vary depending on the attacker’s Crit Atk and the target’s Crit Def. This is also affected by divergent spirit rules. More on this later. 

Bullet Level Modifier is a multiplier to a hit which is based on the level of the Shot/Spell Card. Spell Card level is raised by Awakening a unit, Basic Shot level rises with total Spirit Power. These specific numbers are unable to be obtained directly from in-game. However, through reverse calculations using the above formula, we will then be able to find them. These range from 1.26-1.33. 1.26 is typically used for Heal and Defense-Class Friends, while 1.33 is extremely rare and mostly reserved for Destroy-Class Friends. A general rule of thumb for guessing these is as follows. Heal/Defense/Spell Cards/Shots = 1.26. Support / Debuff = 1.28. Technical / Speed = 1.3. Attack = 1.31. Destroy = 1.33. These do vary between units and are never stagnant.

Random Multiplier is a multiplier that applies to every hit and adds a level of randomness to damage, which can be anywhere from 0.336x to 0.4x

Target Defense is based on the target’s stats, composed of the Defense stat and modifiers that apply to the stat as shown. These are affected by DS rules. More on this later. 

Trait Multiplier refers to only whether an attack is resisted, effective, or neutral. Covered later.  

Targeting Resistance is the resistance/vulnerability to Solo/All attacks. More on this later. 

Ability Multiplier is your ability and how it affects your damage output. More on abilities much later. 

Barriers and Barrier Breaks (Barriers Part 1)

For players, every Friend has a total of 5 maximum Barriers, but can only use the first 4 for Grazing. Every time a unit Grazes, they will be completely immune to the next enemy attack, regardless of how many hits it consists of, outside of Graze Piercing, a mechanic introduced during the 2.5th anniversary which introduced Sun EX. This immunity also carries over to any other effects of the attack. Barriers can only be recovered by attack Pre/Post-ATK effects, Skills, and Passives which specifically restore Barriers, Story Cards with Barrier recovering effects, and retrying a battle. They do not recover with time.

Enemies have a specified number of Barriers, often being 7, which they can not consume naturally. Enemies can also have skills and spell card pre effects that recover Barriers. How to break them is a different story. 

Barrier Status (aka Barrier Anomalies) work the same for both players and enemies. One Barrier Status can be applied per existing Barrier, and all of them have individual turn durations that also have various effects.

Barriers can be broken, either by attacks that specifically Break Barriers with a specific barrier Status, or by Elemental Attacks the target is weak to. A broken Barrier is simply deleted, albeit recoverable later. Attacks will first check for a relevant Barrier Status, immediately break all relevant Barriers if even one hit belonging to a bullet line with the Barrier Status Break connects, and then Elemental Breaks will occur. This means certain units can easily break 7 Barriers of an enemy in a singular turn, even if only one of their bullet lines have the appropriate elemental weakness. 

For an example, take the ever mentioned F1 Koishi Komeiji. At Max Awakening and with her last Skill at level 10, with a single All-Targeting (AoE) Spell Card she can inflict 6 Poison. By boosting one time, because her bullet spread is 1-3-1, the second bullet line in her attack will be activated. This line has the Toxic Bullet Effect, which breaks all enemy Barriers with Poison anomalies on them. However, this bullet line also has the Wood element, meaning it breaks Barriers of enemies weak to Wood. If you take F1 Koishi into a Wood-weak stage, use all Skills and Boost once before using her AoE Spell Card, the Poison break will trigger first, causing 6 Barriers to be removed from the enemy through the Poison, then come the Wood elemental breaking. Breaking an additional Barrier of the enemy will cause the target to be in a fully broken state instantly, which is all achieved in a single turn.

However, some units may have their bullet lines appear out of order. For example, A7B Sakuya is infamous for having all her breaks activate almost instantly which can make her quite the force for your average piece of content. This mechanic is referred to and is called ‘Overflow’ which is essential to know about. It is difficult to exactly know which attacks/bullets have Overflow and when, but keep this very important mechanic in mind as it can greatly improve some units beyond what is known about on paper. 

If a unit is brought down to 0 barriers, they are counted as Fully Broken. A Fully Broken unit is stunned for the remainder of the turn as well as the following turn, with both of their Yang and Yin DEF reduced to a fourth of their original values. Once a unit is Fully Broken, all buffs and debuffs are removed. During a Full Break, all DEF (de)buffs are nullified - CRIT and EVA (de)buffs still work as normal.

You can not restore the Barriers of a fully broken Friend to revert them from being fully broken. 

As an added note, should an enemy be weak to Metal instead of Wood in the F1 Koishi example above, the Metal line will trigger first, breaking 1 Barrier AND a Poison Barrier. Causing the enemy to be at 5 Poison when the Toxic bullet line (Bullet line 2 in the AoE Spell Card) triggers, which can cause a total of 6 breaks to occur and being unable to fully break an enemy with this Spell Card.

Barrier Status

There are five different Barrier Statuses that Barriers can be inflicted with: Burn, Blind, Paralyze, Freeze, and Poison. Their effects are as follows (n is treated as the number of that Status applied to the unit):

Burn: The unit will lose 1.4*n% of their Max HP at the start of the turn, but cannot reduce HP below 1. Their Yin ATK and Yin DEF are also multiplied by 0.875^n. Is broken by Incineration.

Blind: The unit’s Accuracy is multiplied by 0.8^n. Is broken by Flash.

Paralyze: The unit has a (unknown, presumably 10% per barrier) chance to be inflicted with Stun (action canceled) at the start of the turn, with their Evasion also multiplied by 0.8^n. Is broken by Discharged.

Freeze: The unit has a (unknown, presumably 15% per barrier) chance to be inflicted with Delay (turn priority pushed back), with their Agility also multiplied by 0.875^n. Is broken by Melting. 

Poison: The unit will lose 1.4*n% of their Max HP at the start of the turn, but cannot reduce HP below 1. Their Yang ATK and Yang DEF are also multiplied by 0.875^n. Is broken by Toxic.

All effects are multiplicative with buffs/debuffs. All Barrier Status have separate durations, dictated from the extra information on the Skill, bullet line, or Pre/Post Effect. Additionally, the turn duration persists if you switch the inflicted unit to the rear guard. A unit cannot be applied with Barrier Status if they do not have a Barrier to apply Status onto or are immune to it via ability.

Buffs and Debuffs

Levels of buffs and debuffs of the same type operate in additive fashion. If you give a unit 3 Levels of Yang ATK Up followed by 2 Levels of Yang ATK Down, the unit will be left with (3 - 2 = 1) 1 Level of Yang ATK Up. 

Buff and debuff durations apply in a somewhat odd fashion. Whenever a Level, be it Up or Down, is applied to a unit, the game checks the new (de)buff’s duration compared to the current duration on the unit. If it’s higher, that duration overrides the current duration, whereas if it’s lower or the same, the duration is simply ignored. The only case where this does not apply as of recently is if the number of buffs hits 0 at any time during the process. If an enemy lowers Accuracy by 1 stage for 5 turns and a unit on your team buffs Accuracy by 3 stages for 1 turn, the Accuracy will buff once resulting in a net 0 Accuracy, effectively removing this buff. Afterwards, the remainder of the Accuracy buff will be applied, resulting in a net +2 Accuracy for 1 turn. This is most likely a bug, but for the purposes of this guide, it is included here. 

All buffs and debuffs are removed from a unit upon the start of a new wave, irregardless of remaining duration.

Attack, Agility, and Defense buffs all multiply their respective stat by 1.3x per Level above 0, and by (1 / 1 + 0.3n), where n is the number of Levels up, per Level below 0. At 10 Levels of ATK, AGI, or DEF Up, the stat will be multiplied by 4x. At 10 Levels of ATK or DEF Down, the stat will be multiplied by 0.25x.

This works the exact same with Rank II buffs. As seen above a Rank II buff looks like a Rank I buff, but with the roman numeral for 2 on it instead of 1. These stack independently from Rank I buffs and multiply with them. For example, 1 Level of Yin ATK II and 10 Levels of Yin ATK result in (1.3*4 = 5.2) 5.2x Yin Attack.

As a result of this, buffs have diminishing returns, as the more Levels of a specific buff a unit already has (such as Yin Attack), the less that subsequent Levels will be worth relatively. 

As an additional note, ATK Up and DEF Down are extremely powerful when combined as they wind up multiplying one another, similarly to a Rank II ATK buff (Yang ATK II, Yin ATK II), due to the fact that the damage formula boils down to Attack being divided by Defense. A mere 2 Levels of ATK Up combined with 2 Levels of DEF Down makes for 2.56x damage* (1.6 / (1 / 1.6)) or (1.6*1.6), and 10 Levels of ATK Up combined with 10 Levels of DEF Down makes for 16x ATK (4.0 / (1 / 4.0))! 

This means that in a hypothetical scenario, a unit could have 10 Levels of ATK Up and 10 Levels of ATK II Up with an enemy having 10 Levels of DEF Down and 10 Levels of DEF II Down. This will result in said unit receiving a massive damage increase (4x4/1/4/1/4 or 4x4x4x4), a 256 DAMAGE INCREASE* to be specific! Buffs sure are powerful.

However, there are qualms with these numbers. Most units in the modern era gain sizable amounts of damage from their Scaling. While lowering an enemy’s Defense will always result in damage gained depending on how low it is, ATK buffs will not assume an ally has Scaling. It can be worth keeping an eye on your unit’s Scaling (Hard or Slice) and know which between ATK and their Scaling (Yin DEF/Yang DEF for Hard, Agility for Slice) to prioritize buffing. 

Again, pay attention to what your unit scales off of and make the judgment or ask for help deciding what buffs they prefer in a situation and what card sticks to place on them.

Accuracy buffs will be covered in the next section as they are somewhat convoluted.

*with the assumption your unit has 0 Scaling value.

Accuracy and Evasion

Accuracy and Evasion both follow the same general rules as other buffs and debuffs - additional Levels are additive, and highest duration overrides. Where things get odd is that both Accuracy and Evasion are effectively added together on the same side: Accuracy Up is added with Evasion Down, and Evasion Up is added with Accuracy Down. For example, if you had a unit attacking with 3 Levels of Accuracy Up against an enemy with 2 Levels of Evasion Down, that unit would effectively have 5 Levels of Accuracy Up. 

The way Accuracy works is that, if total Levels of Accuracy Up are positive, the attack has its base Accuracy multiplied by 1.2 per Level. If they are negative, instead the attack has its base Accuracy divided by 1.2 per level. Note that these are increases to the base value - so it takes far fewer Levels of Accuracy Up to make a 75% accurate bullet become 100% as opposed to, say, a 50% accurate bullet.

Accuracy caps at a x3 multiplier with a relatively weird way of canceling enemy Accuracy due to the way Accuracy functions. If a unit has 10 Levels of Accuracy and the enemy has 8 Levels of Evasion the unit will still connect with 80% base Accuracy bullets. As they have 2 Levels of net Accuracy, which in practice will be sure to connect unless other means prevent that.

Accuracy Rank II and Evasion Rank II still work as separate multipliers of x1.2, also stacking to x3 at 10 Levels.

VS Divergent Spirits can also lower Accuracy and increase Evasion (and vice versa). More information in the VS Divergent Spirits section. 

Every hit of an attack checks its Accuracy separately, and its base Accuracy is determined by the line it belongs to.

Critical Hits

A Critical Hit is a chance to deal a base x2 bullet line damage of an attack. Every attack line rolls its Critical Hit chance separately. Buffs to Critical Hit DMG are a 1.3x additive increase to the modifier, so 1 Level of Crit DMG Up is 2.3x, 10 Crit DMG Levels is 5x, 1 Level of Crit DMG Down is 1.77x, and 10 Crit DMG DOWN levels are 1.25x.

Crit ATK II is a special case. While the above is true for normal Crit ATK, the updated formula for Crit ATK II is 1+(1+.3n)(1+.3n) where n = number. In short, 10 of both buffs get 1+(4)(4)= 17 or a x17 damage multiplier for bullets that land Critical Hits.

This short section is about LM1 Maribel Hearn’(and Mima)’s special Skill also known as Resonance. More information about Resonance will be in the Glossary of special Skills later. As you’ll see, Merry and Mima’s special skill works very differently than all others in the game. Taking the first Resonance effect for example, it adds to the base Critical Hit modifier that can turn the average unit with 10% base Critical Hit chance into one with a 26% chance. As for the second portion of these Resonance effects, there comes an increase in the damage of natural or “white” Critical Hits. These are Critical Hits determined from exclusively RNG and not Killer. In other words, Killer lines are not buffed but their CRIT Chance is buffed instead.

Crit Accuracy and Crit Evasion buffs work exactly like the normal Accuracy and Evasion buffs, as they only multiply the base Critical Hit chance instead and capping at x3. This will mean most units will not find this very useful, barring most Destroy-Class Friends.

Every bullet (not bullet line) checks its Critical Hit chance separately, and the base Critical Hit chance depends on what bullet line the hit belongs to.

Killer attacks are treated as if the Critical Hit chance were 100%, are checked after checking for “white Crits” (which can happen during a Killer attacking line and usually deal no additional damage), and otherwise behave exactly the same as a normal Critical Hit.

For more information via an article by Delta Rune below:

Weakness, Resistance and Guarding

If an enemy takes a hit that’s tagged with an Element they resist, they take 0.5x damage. If a unit takes a hit that’s tagged with a Element they are weak to, they take 2x damage and lose a Barrier (as described in the Barrier section). In short, the difference between hitting a weakness and resistance is a x4 damage gap.

The above multipliers can change depending on a friend’s or enemy’s ability. Best keep a lookout, but more on how these work in a later section!

Guards are a mechanic which lower damage. Guards of the same type do not add, simply the biggest is applied. Multiple applicable guards of different types stack multiplicatively which means unless 1 guard on it’s own reaches 100% damage down, one will always take at least some damage reGUARDless of the guard.

Additionally, you can’t extend guards that aren’t the exact same in both % given and turn amount. What this means is that if you did find a unit with 100% Damage Down from a source for 1 turn and tried to extend it with 30% Damage Down from the same source for 3 turns, 100% Damage down would trigger that turn, leave the next turn, and for the next 2 turns after you’d only have 30% Damage Down.

In addition, there are “All and Solo” Attack Resistance buffs that only enemies get. These act as independent multipliers. For Solo-Targeting Attacks, the formula is 1/(1+.05n). Meaning enemies take 5% more damage from AoE attacks and 5% less from solo target attacks, with a 1/(1+.3n) formula for All-Targeting Attacks which means enemies take 30% less damage from AOE attacks and 30% more from Solo attacks for every rank. 

Agility and Turn Priority

Turn priority in Touhou LostWord is very simple and follows a hierarchy. Shots take place after Spell Cards which take place after Last Words. The enemies' spells take place after our Spell Cards and Last Words, but not before our Shots, which are all handled by a different metric explained shortly. Quick and Charge make an ally or enemy move first in their hierarchy bracket but do not allow them to skip a tier in said hierarchy. 

Who moves first is determined by if an ally or enemy is in the same bracket and then if said ally or enemy has 20% or more Agility stat, which will mean that Agility plays a key role in who moves first. This Agility stat includes the multipliers from AGI Up. Covered above. 

During the attack selection phase, for the purposes of exclusively determining who moves first, the agility stat of all combatants is multiplied by 1-1.2. At which point the turn order is determined strictly by who moves first. This is where the requirement of having more than 20% of AGI for move first comes from. 

For the exact equation of this, consider the following situation. Character A has 1080 agility while character B has 1000 agility. For the exact % chance character A will be outsped by B, use the following equation: 

wlog a > b (For all cases where Character A outspeeds Character B)

if a > 1.2b then %(a outspeed b) = 1 (If Character A has more than 20% additional agility of Character B, Character A will always move first.)

if a < 1.2b then %(a outspeed b) = (1.2b-a)^2 / (0.08ab) (If Character A does not have more than 20% additional agility over Character B, use the following equation to find how often Character B will outspeed Character A. The agility stat must include any bonus agility gained from AGI Up buffs.)

ex if a = 1080, b = 1k, a < 1.2b so %(a outspeed b) = (1.2 * 1000 - 1080)^2 / (0.08 * 1080 * 1k) ~ 16.7%

There is roughly a 16.7% chance Character B will outspeed Character A. 

This means that Cz1 Marisa Kirisame has about a 53.2% chance to outspeed and defeat L80 Reimu Hakurei. Danmaku is surely all about power…err…speed now! (I sure hope C3 Sekibanki doesn’t catch wind of this race.)

A massive thank you and credits toward discord users redd548 and solver1104 for assisting in finding a working universal equation for this section. Solver1104 created the equation and with the help of redd548 it was checked for consistency. Thank you both.

Focus

A stat available only from buffs and debuffs. Any unit with at least 1 Level of Focus Up will be more likely to be targeted by an enemy’s attack - likewise, at least 1 Level of Focus Down will make them less likely to be targeted.

The exact metric for focus up is (1+.3n)^3 while for Focus Down it is (1/1+.3n)^1.5. After this, the damage distribution is calculated with DMG Multi = Focus Up/Down * number of units/(Focus Up/Down of all units added). 

DMG Multi is a straight multi given to the damage one would take.

Focus Up/Down is simply the number given after using one of the two formulas above.

This calculation is run every time an attack lands and works the same for both players and enemies. Once all is said and done, the damage is distributed according to the ratios between the DMG Multipliers given from the Focus buffs/debuffs.  

In addition, unlike other buffs or debuffs, Focus UP/DOWN remains on a character once they are in the Full Break state. This can potentially put a Friend with Focus Up in even more danger if they are fully broken, as the increased damage from Focus Up will still apply.

Switch Links and Friendship Bonus

Every unit has a “Switch Link” effect, which does whatever’s listed on their character page - this can range from generating Spirit Power, to recovering Barriers, and more.

Additionally, every unit has a hidden “Friendship Bonus” when switching with certain units, which are usually based on canon friendships and relationships. These friendship bonuses have a chance to occur based on the unit Switching’s Friendship level, and increase the effect of the buff.

Morale

Units have a "Morale Value," which is measured as follows, based on the icon on their status screen: Overworked (Double Sweat, 0) > Tired (Single Sweat, 1-15) > Energetic (Single Sparkle, 16-60) > Tip-top Shape (Double Sparkle, 61-75).

Morale is capped out at 75 points for units in school, and 60 for those outside of it. Morale is gained at a rate of 1 point per 6 minutes, or 2 points for units in School. It takes a unit in school 3 hours and 48 minutes to hit Max Morale, and a unit outside of it 6 hours.

Morale is lost at a rate of 1 point per battle, with an additional 5 points lost if a unit is knocked out. Retreating from a fight will nullify any morale loss. Units in Tip-top Shape will gain 1.2x EXP and units who are Overworked will gain 0.5x EXP. Units will gain friendship at the end of a battle if their morale is Tired or higher, but will lose friendship if they are Overworked.

Remember you can gain bonus Morale from placing units in the School even when the school is empty of food and they will gain morale while battling!

This means that there is an equilibrium between battling and gaining morale from the school which is roughly 2 minutes and 36 seconds per battle. 

Friendship

Units have an "Friendship Value," which is measured as follows, based on the color of the heart on their status screen: So-so (Purple) > Acquaintance (Blue) > Friend (Green) > Close Friend (Orange) > Best Friend (Pink). Newly acquired units start out at Acquaintance friendship.

Units will gain Friendship at the end of a battle if their Morale is Tired or higher, but will lose Friendship if they are Overworked.

Units can gain Friendship by tapping on the hearts which appear over them in School. Additionally, the unit you set as your favorite (the one who appears on your homescreen) will gain friendship over time.

School and homescreen friendship will only raise a unit to about roughly halfway through Close Friend. Best Friend status can only be achieved by battle friendship. The best bonds are those forged in the fires of battle!

High friendship gives additional stats to a unit: approximately +3% at Friend, +6% at Close Friend, and +9% at Best Friend to all stats. This can really make the difference!

Whilst Friendship doesn't take a particularly long time to max out, it is very quickly lost and can be a pain to build back up again, so take care not to send your units out if they have Overworked morale!

Combat Power

Combat power is the number next to the letters CP that one will see on any attack. Although not extremely important it will give a rough estimate of how much damage the attack will deal without regards to in-line effects such as Hard/Slice Scaling or Specular bullets. This is primarily useful for comparing defense stats between targets and outside of this holds no true purpose.

Gauges

Some challenging content may feature enemies with multiple health bars, known as Gauges.

Beginning from Chapter 3 Act 2, players will start encountering enemies that have more than one health bar. These are known as Gauges, and need to be broken in order to bring the fight to the next phase. More than one enemy may come with a Gauge, and enemies can have up to three Gauges total in a single battle, identified by the Red and Yellow dots that appear next to their health bar. Enemy skills can change between gauges as can many other things about them so click on the Red and Yellow dots for information about the gauge you’re facing.

Gauge Breaking an enemy may also result in additional effects being applied. These generally serve as buffs to your opponents, with a wide range of effects ranging from simple stat boosts, to Element Resistance and the application of Anomalies. Gauge Breaking may also result in your team suffering from Binds/Seals.

Extra Attack

Extra Attacks can seal your team's abilities.

Extra attacks are a mechanic that only takes place during stop points, which happen at the beginning of a wave or on a gauge break. These can have tons of effects and can almost do anything. Most commonly however, they will be used to change the race of the opponent or inflict some sort of Bind. Killer changes or race changes are used to restrict how many Killer tags an enemy is hit by while Binds will remove your ability to perform actions until said Binds are removed. There are quite a few Bind removers, but are usually higher rarity Heal-Class Friends.

An example of Focus Shot being Sealed.

Overdamage

A classic scene of Spring triumphing over Winter. Colourized.

Overdamage was introduced to Touhou Lost Word on November 11, 2022 as part of the 1.5 Anniversary Celebration. 

Overdamage is one of the most valued mechanics in Touhou Lostword. In short, for every bullet that hits an enemy after they have been killed, but still have gauges left, you will see red numbers and the word “over” displayed next to them. This tells you exactly how many hits over the enemy’s HP your attack killed their gauge by which can allow the player to know if they need to increase damage to add consistency or not. In addition, if a Spell Card hits an enemy while their Gauge is completely broken, they will receive the entire Spell Card back while the effects still trigger. 

Additionally, all hits of Overdamage have a universal Spirit Power collection rate. Even if your unit has a normally very terrible one, this Spirit Power collection rate is also rather high so sometimes running a ATK up Story Card to get more hits of Overdamage (killing the opponent faster and harder) as opposed to a Spirit Power Up Story Card will allow for some pretty wild strategies to become consistent. 

That Spell Card will come in handy for her next Gauge.

VS Divergent Spirits

VS Divergent Spirits is considered to be the primary meat and potatoes of current Touhou LostWord. In order to fully complete it, one must have knowledge of almost everything listed in this guide. However, there is one specific aspect about Divergent Spirits that doesn’t relate to the above portion of this article being the rule system. 

VS Divergent Spirits has quite the amount of important or other non-obvious rules, so it is best to go over each of them individually. 

Yin/Yang Def UP Is exactly how it sounds: Raising the defense of the enemies by the listed percent value. These stack multiplicatively on each other, meaning two rules that give the enemies 10% more Defense stack to become (1.1*1.1) 21% Defense Up!

HP UP effectively works the same as Yin and Yang Defense up. Stacking on itself. This is clearly observable unlike the defense based rules.

Evasion UP functions very very similarly to Defense Up rules. However, these are still calculated in a similar manner to Accuracy Down and Evasion Up, which have been covered earlier. 20% Evasion Up will result in a x.8 multi at the end of your Accuracy calculation and if the number isn’t above 100 anymore, your allies will still miss despite your attempts. 

Damage from Killer bullets DOWN is an interesting case. This rule means that the end of calculation damage from bullets that hit said Killer has a lowered Crit damage output by a set percent, (usually 50%). Killers as such will no longer give a damage bonus for having it and having 0 Crit Attack, with 10 Levels of Crit Attack resulting in a x2.5 Killer multiplier as opposed to the usual x5. As for standard Critical Hits outside of Killers, they remain unaffected!

In VS Divergent Spirits Stages, there is the ever common Buff Removal. Being present in a majority of Divergent Spirits stages, they remove all Rank II buffs from your party, whereas any Rank II buffs, Resonance Skills, Stored Power and other newer mechanics introduced in the later half of 2023 and onward will remain for their usual duration.

Abilities and their Secrets

Some abilities are rather easy to understand.

Others…are this shrine maiden here

Abilities are the cornerstone of a good unit. However, there is some worthwhile additional information that will be covered on them that has been found throughout the lifespan of Touhou LostWord.. 

Damage to resisted/effective elements is a very strong and popular Ability due to how it multiplies, being an additional multiplier when the condition is met. For a character like LR1 Renko Usami (and Shinki), they deal x2.8 damage to effective as opposed to the usual x2 (2*1.4=2.8) leading to a massive ideal damage output. Generally though, damage to resistance is the better of the two. 

Damage from resisted/effective elements work the same, as multiplying your defense stat will result in less damage taken. However, there is one massive thing to mention about them. In game, all damage from resisted/effective Abilities are translated incorrectly and should be flipped. All Damage from resistance down Abilities are Damage from effective down for example, and vice versa. Keep this in mind!

Rank II Era Mechanics

Here is a short Glossary of so-called “Rank II Era Mechanics” which are all buffs that are introduced and function in different ways than regular buffs and are not covered by the original Advanced Combat Guide yet have room to be explained further. In addition to what is below all of these buffs will: 

  • Not be removed by the aforementioned Buff Removal.
  • Not lose their effectiveness in the Hakugyoku Arena game modes.

Stored Power. There are three variations of this mechanic in the game at the moment: x20% damage for every 1 Boost in storage (up to 5.00), x15% damage for every Graze (up to 5 Barriers) and x1% damage for every hit point above 80% of maximum HP. All of these award their damage bonus as you press the attack. If one uses Spirit Power based stored power for example, you will receive the maximum damage bonus for the approaching turn even if you boost 3 times assuming you have the maximum 5 total boosts.

Effective/Resisted Element Up. This simply adds to the current damage to effective/resisted up a unit already has, based on current calculations. 

Resonance. LM1 Maribel Hearn and Mima’s Skill were covered in depth earlier in this guide. All Genic rarity Friends count as two stacks of this buff, meaning a single unit like LR1 Renko Usami and Shinki gets 10% damage up as they count as two characters instead of the usual one that would only grant a 5% Boost.

Normal Rank II Buffs. As mentioned earlier, these buffs simply stack on top of what is already buffed as another multiplier.

Weakness Infliction. Inflicts weakness to an enemy for a set amount of turns, with Moon and Wood Weakness Inflictions as the only ones available as of the 3rd Anniversary. How helpful! 

Great Boundary. Gives specific effects with a particular turn duration. Should the Skill caster switch to the Rear Guard, the stat bonuses will not instantly disappear, but will do so during from moving from one wave to another (like all other skill buffs). Additionally, it makes the background change, which could be deemed a massive visual nerf since some of the backgrounds in this game are great!

Decay

Introduced on March 3rd in 2023, the term known by the community as Decay was created. Decay slowly increases the stats outside of HP and AGI of the enemies, looking more rampant later into turns, starting on Turn 3 and continuing forever until the battle is over. Additionally, the exact equation is unable to properly be reverse engineered. 

Turn 1-2 there is 0 decay.

Turn 3 there is .15% additional stat.

Turn 4 there is .61% additional stat.

Turn 5 there is 1.3% additional stat. 

Turn 6 there is 2.23% additional stat. 

Turn 7 there is 3.43% additional stat. 

Turn 8 there is 4.73 additional stat.

Turn 9 there is 6.33% additional stat. 

Turn 10 there is 8.14% additional stat.

Turn 31 there is exactly 100% additional stat.

The steady pace of Decay is overall not very noticeable, at least until higher Defense levels of stages (e.g. VS Divergent Spirits). Should Decay truly be an issue you encounter, try your best to take risks, debuff, or resort to other methods to shorten your clear comp

Reduced Spirit Power Cost

This can be activated by pressing the Spirit Point Cost after pressing the Set Party button when preparing for a battle. 

In short, lowering your Party’s cost lowers stats, but does not lower the stat bonuses gained from Story Cards. 

The exact amount of stat lowered is n/sp cost amount. Where n is the current sp cost of the unit. This multiplier is added per stat, not to total stat. All stats are rounded to the closest whole number after this cut is applied.

Adding two 12sp units to a battle and reducing the Spirit Point cost to its lowest will result in both units having their stats lowered by 10/24. 

When reducing Spirit Points however, each unit is not calculated separately. For example, if you bring 5 5sp units and a 14sp unit, the 14sp unit will have noticeably more stats than if you tried to reduce Spirit Points with just the 14sp unit. 

For more information please check the previous article released on this topic

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